Two ways of waiting

Everyone I know is waiting for something or waiting for someone. I believe that there are two very different postures of waiting in life. The most common form of waiting is worldly waiting. Worldly waiting is a disease that God’s Spirit seeks to diagnose and heal in a person. A second and less common form of waiting is spiritual waiting. Spiritual waiting is the fruit of a life that is surrendered to God.

Worldly waiting is of the flesh. The roots of worldly waiting are a deep insecurity coupled with an unrealistic belief that something “out there” can save me or make me whole. When stuck in a pattern of worldly waiting, nothing we have and nothing we are ever feels like enough. As a result, we crave: a new relationship, a promotion, validation, respect, money, a second home, anything.

Spiritual waiting is much different than worldly waiting. It is the default posture of a heart that is surrendered to God. Spiritual waiting is Abraham waiting for Sarah to conceive, Moses looking at the Promised Land and waiting to enter, and Jesus on the cross waiting for resurrection.

One who is skilled in the art of spiritual waiting knows that God’s promise is both already and not yet fulfilled. Those who wait spiritually have tasted something of God’s goodness, but they eagerly wait for the banquet. Spiritual waiting is a readiness of heart, an active expectancy, a watching for God to appear, a listening for God to speak, and a willingness to say yes to the call.

Put differently, the former is a waiting for something and the latter is a waiting for Someone. “I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame” (Is 49:23).