Wasting Time with God
Kass Unger of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
…what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him…. -2 Peter 3:11b-15
I don’t think I have ever spent three days by myself with nothing to do but wait. For many years the craziness of Christmas and the New Year has been amplified with back-to-back camps, often involving 20 hours of cross-country driving. This year was different. This year I still had back-to-back camps, but there was no driving between events and I had an extended three-day break. Three full days in the Australian bush, by myself, with very limited cell phone service. In fact, it required a 15-minute walk up a significant hill to have any contact with the outside world.
I belong to a society that prides itself on its busyness, but when your main objective for a day is simply waiting, you find peace and notice so much more. The magnitudes of grasshoppers that jump out of the way when you walk, the cackle of kookaburras as the sun starts to go down, the deafening call of cicadas. You notice some flowers close during the heat of the day; you can get unbelievably close to a mob of kangaroos (if you keep thinking, “I bid you no harm”). There were moments when I was in awe and became overwhelmed by the adaptability, diversity, and beauty of plants and animals that have learned to survive the Australian climate.
At times throughout this year I have found myself getting busy, exhausted, and overwhelmed. These are the moments I remind myself of the value found in simply waiting and wasting time with God. In this Advent season, though I don’t have the luxury of three full days alone with God, I will make the effort to carve out time to receive the benefits of simply being and waiting.
Advent Prayer Phrase
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).
Advent Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.