I had recently met and become engaged to someone I truly loved. My fiance and I were looking forward to an early wedding - until we announced our news to his mother. Her opposition stunned us. We were so shocked by her strongly negative reaction that we began to have second thoughts about the marriage. Our joy and expectancy deflated like old balloons. Maybe she just needed time to come around. Or we could just proceed without her participation. Either way, it looked as though we were in for a long wait before we could recapture the joy we'd felt.
Waiting for something good was nothing new to me. I'd often prided myself on patience as I waited for things to work out the way I'd envisioned. My expectations weren't outlandish or selfish, so I usually figured I had a good chance they'd be met.
Something was wrong with this picture - my expecting good, but passively waiting for someone or something to make it happen. For one thing, the wait was typically long, and often unfulfilled. For another, I felt continually needy, and no amount of wish fulfillment erased that underlying mindset. Even switching to busyness to accomplish some dreamed-of goal was little more than waiting-in-motion.
Finally, I came across a statement that turned my practice of planning and waiting on its head: "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 307).
These words by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, spoke to me about an entirely different kind of waiting - waiting on God. I could see that God isn't a fickle or judgmental dispenser of fate. God is divine Love, and thinking about that gave me real hope. I was willing to actively wait for God to fulfill His good plan.
I began to see that God always has been and always will be all-loving. He can't give more at some future time than He has always provided. And because God is Spirit, His gifts must be spiritual ideas - things like peace, satisfaction, wisdom, happiness, and health. These gifts are eternal, like Him. They don't come and go, dependent on persons or situations, but they do give us the practical things we need each day.
Here's where I had to make a decision. I could continue to agonize over why the things I wanted were so often postponed. Or I could trust God as infinitely caring for each of us, shifting my attention from what I felt was missing to the satisfaction and peace I have right now as God's loved daughter. It was an easy choice. I resolved to expect and look for God's goodness in my life every day.
My fiance agreed with this attitude. We stopped agonizing and moved forward with new hope. We talked with a Christian Science practitioner, who listened compassionately as we poured out our story. Then she asked us two questions: Do you love each other? (Yes!) And, What are you waiting for?
This second question stopped us short. She wasn't saying, Then go ahead! And she wasn't advocating ignoring the wishes of our families. But she was inviting us to consider what we thought had to happen in order for the marriage to proceed. Had we consulted our Father-Mother God, or only our human parents? Were we waiting for a perfect human situation to validate our choice? The minute we turned to God for guidance, our path became clear and led to a solid, happy union. And while it took my mother-in-law some time to see the wisdom of the decision, she ultimately did.
Now when I feel something good is missing in my life, I have a clearer idea of what I'm waiting for. I ask God to show me the good He's already given me. I try to actively expect and watch for spiritual ideas - for examples of joy and goodness around me. This approach has brought tangible rewards.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor