Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.

Psalm 37:7

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, we can best serve God by waiting. Rather than act in haste, or force our will on a situation, sometimes it is better to wait, and to pray.

Our congregation made the difficult decision to suspend in-person worship again in the wake of rapidly rising COVID numbers in our community. For the next four Sundays we will worship online only, as we wait, hope and pray for the vaccine to become more widely available and for the numbers to begin declining again.

This new season of waiting brings to mind for me one of my favorite poems by R.S. Thomas, the Welsh poet and Anglican priest. Sometimes, he reminds us in this poem, and with God’s help, we can find meaning in the waiting.

When this pandemic began I offered a devotional booklet to my congregation called “Poems, Prayers, Psalms, and Promises.” I have been offering devotions in this style ever since, and so here is another poem, prayer, psalm, and promise as we continue through this season of waiting.

Psalm 37:3-7

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
    and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
    over those who carry out evil devices.

Scripture Readings

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:25

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. – Lamentations 3:25

Devotional Poem: Kneeling by R.S. Thomas

 Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great role. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.

Closing Prayer

Lord, so much of our life is spent waiting, which can be frustrating. When we hope for what we do not see, we wait. When that happens, help us to wait with patience, and with faith. Help us to trust and hope in you, for you are good to all who wait for you. And help us to find meaning in our waiting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

This poem and others by R.S. Thomas can be found in a collection of his poems that I own and love called R.S. Thomas: Everyman’s Poetry.

4 thoughts on “The Meaning in the Waiting

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