King James Version (KJV)
31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Time comes heavy. It seems in our modern life every minute, sometimes every second, brings its own set of challenges, and all our aspirations seem too far off. We are mired in the tyranny of the present crisis, frantically bailing our our ship and using the very water to put out the fire spreading across it at the same time. With each new task, each new burden, we readjust our load and plod forward; wondering when those dreams we have so often will come.
Weariness sets in. Apathy. Dissolution. Discord. We begin to wonder if our goals and hopes are worth the effort. Oft times we forget them amidst the emergencies we deal with in the now. Our lives become a series of present panics, and within this maelstrom we are worn, beaten and exhausted. We crawl into our beds at night, a part of our mind seeking to dream, the other seeking only blessed relief.
Do we dare dream? Is hope a currency we can no longer trade? Has our moment in the sun already come and passed us by?
We are bombarded daily with images and snippets of how easy life is. Three easy payments, a double-stick of gum, and a bumper sticker later everything should be hunky dory. If it isn’t, then obviously we’ve done something wrong. We haven’t worked hard enough or spent enough time on project x or set goal y in an achievable manner. The message always reduces the same… you are not worthy. You are a serf. Life will deny you.
And what is left? Our spirit withers and dies within us. We give up our dreams one blink at a time until aught is left but ashes. Our beds become a cocoon, and our minds flee from the dreams that captivated our youth.
It is in these moments we are faced with our monumental choices. No fanfare, no showdown with the villain, no epic climax… just a small, weary voice in the back of our minds laying our options on the table. We can succumb. We can numb. We can rage. We can… wait.
“I can think, I can wait, I can fast.”
–Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse
Waiting is perhaps one of the hardest skills we can acquire in our lifetimes. When the temporal is imposed upon us daily, when everything we see and hear screeches “NOW”, waiting becomes the antithetical stance to everything we perceive life to be. Waiting connotes anticipation. Anticipation in itself can be unbearable to some. However, anticipation is tempered by patience.
People often think of patience as a passive exercise, a simple idleness in which we can remove ourselves from expectation and effort. If you have ever watched an eagle hunt, you can see that patience is anything but. The eagle will circle, flying for long stretches, eyes focused on the water looking for the proper sign of fish. They wait, their whole being taut and ready for the right moment, when that silver flash appears. Then, like lightning, they are down to the water and back up, food in their grasp.
Patience is actively waiting. Patience is knowing the opportunity will come as long as we are ready. Patience is the circling of the eagle in its hunt, ready at any moment to seize hold of its goal. The eagle knows if it does not fly, it does not eat, so it works its wings over and over in its search, knowing sooner or later that its time will come.
The eagle cannot say for sure what will present itself under the waves, nor can we in our daily lives presume to know the course of our daily circumstances. We can, however, hold ourselves in readiness for those opportunities, watching closely everything around us. We can anticipate fortune, and temper it with patience, accepting that sooner or later an opportunity will come.
In such a way, we can mount up with wings as eagles, placing our faith in hands far greater than ours. We can ignore the buffets of the wind and the rain of our everyday lives and keep circling, keep watching. If our eyes remain on the opportunities that may present themselves, we can ignore the fatigue of the daily parade of emergencies. Faith brings us patience, and patience brings us strength from a source far more profound than our own.
Much like love, when our own wellsprings our exhausted, we can draw upon the infinite reserves of God. These are gifts given freely to us, to enhance our lives and those of others around us. Patience, love, kindness… all cost nothing yet create great worth. Our patience is thus inexhaustible for as long we wait not within ourselves, but upon the Lord.
We wait upon the Lord knowing opportunity will present itself. It may not be what we expect, nor what we most desire, but if we have faith it will come. Patience can yield amazing results in our spiritual and even physical lives. Temporal fatigues and the withering of our spirits will wash away. We only need to stay the course and wait not upon ourselves, but upon the Lord.