Sunday, December 7

Celestial bureaucracy...

Learning to wait is an important element in Christian faith. One of the most interesting graffiti I remember is the one that appeared on the walls of the women’s hostel just days before I closed my engineering studies. Graffiti simply said, “I am willing. Please WAIT!”

In its every book , the Bible speaks about waiting. The theology of waiting is of significance in knowing more about God and His holiness. As I grew up, the ‘waiting’ aspect of faith has been a mystery and marvel to me. Emilie Griffin in one of her writings calls prayerful waiting by a modern terminology: an encounter with ‘celestial bureaucracy’

Waiting is the practical testing ground of a prayer life. I have seen people confronted with their inability to wait. The observed silence of God has pulled the plug of a many of them and they have just one question, “I am waiting O my God! Why are you so silent and slow?” In one of the classical work of Philip Yancey, ‘Disappointment with God’, he tells the story of a modern seminarian who wanted God’s answer to his prayers overnight. Therefore, he lights up a campfire and sits patiently waiting for God. By early morning, he loses his faith in a God whom he couldn’t hear. He lights-up all his books and his Bible in the campfire hearth, only to walk away from God forever. In the Bible, we read another story... of another seminarian...a Jewish priest by name Simeon. He too waited...waited for a lifetime. Then, having seen the positive result had this to tell: Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

Of the many values that waiting builds, it is the self-realization that we are God’s children and that He WILL answer us that keeps us in prayer. It is this realization that creates a radical intimacy with God. God listens and He works. He takes His time... in the ‘fullness of His time’.
A favorite waiting story of mine is that of Habakkuk in the Bible. Prophet had this to say after the long wait he had in his prayer life: I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

The result of us waiting for God is most exiting at its closing: His plans are far superior... His ways far marvellous. We stand wonderstruck unable to fathom anything!!

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