While we wait
There isn’t anywhere that God-gifted grace, patience, and joy can’t be expressed – uplifting our outlook and experience even when it seems we’re in a waiting game for something good to happen.
Whether you are at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or on hold about when the kids will be back in school, waiting can sometimes seem challenging. It suggests an absence or lack, because the thing you are waiting for doesn’t appear to be there or hasn’t happened yet. These days it seems there is a lot of waiting going on in many aspects of life.
Jazz icon Wynton Marsalis wrote and recorded “The Democracy! Suite” during the pandemic. Its first movement, which Mr. Marsalis said was inspired by frontline workers who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic, is titled “Be Present.” As Mr. Marsalis continues to perform onstage without an audience, he is clearly “being present” with perseverance and inspiration in creative ways. I find his example encouraging.
What if instead of getting caught up in what seems absent, we considered that even where that feeling of waiting is, nothing we truly need is missing? I’m not talking about visualizing a certain outcome or circumstance. What I mean is recognizing the unchanging presence of God, divine Love itself – tangibly feeling the limitless fullness of God’s present goodness as the reality, even when circumstances suggest we have to wait for something good to happen.
There’s a beautiful declaration in the Bible that I’ve found helpful in lessening anxious mental thumb-twiddling in such situations: “You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures” (Psalms 16:11, Christian Standard Bible). Through prayer, what appear to be waiting periods can actually be transformed into moments of openness to divine revelation.
Some time ago I felt I needed a refreshed sense of life, work, and relationships. You could call it a waiting period, because I sure felt as though I was waiting for a change.
As I had found helpful so many times before when faced with difficulty or uncertainty, I prayed – but not to ask God for a specific change in circumstance. I was praying to see the path forward that was already full of joy in God’s presence, and to be more aware of the permanent spiritual substance of everything in my life.
Christian Science, based on the Bible, teaches that God is Spirit and has created each of us spiritually. This means that qualities from God, good, such as purity, intelligence, and wisdom are the very substance of our real identity.
I looked for opportunities to express these qualities even in the simplest things I enjoyed in my life, such as bike riding and jazz. And I realized that the vitality and creativity of these simple enjoyments could be expressed even during challenges at work and within relationships. There isn’t anywhere that Spirit-gifted grace, patience, and joy can’t be expressed in order to glorify God.
Not only did these ideas help me feel near to God, but they showed me that spiritual qualities and their expression are my actual life, no matter what my circumstances look like. After about six months of this steady prayer and practice of the ideas that were awakening in me, I really felt them governing and directing my life. I no longer felt stuck in a waiting game. And soon my experience did take on an entirely new direction that included marriage, a new culture and country, and other new opportunities to express God-given qualities and abilities.
The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote a poem called “Mother’s Evening Prayer” that has also been set to music in the “Christian Science Hymnal.” The first two lines put in a nutshell the ideas that so changed my thought: “O gentle presence, peace and joy and power; / O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour...” (“Poems,” p. 4).
As we recognize the presence of God’s blessings and our inseparability from that divine goodness, our outlook can be uplifted instantly. So what are we waiting for?