As a child, I used to wear my rose-colored glasses and see life as a very simple task. According to six-year-old me, life is beautiful! I thought that “when I grew up” all I would have to do is work hard and make an impact. I thought then that if I did good things, my life would be great. Now, I’ve taken off those glasses and seen life as it is. Life is hard.
It involves trying your hardest and yet “failing”. It includes losing people and things that break your heart. It incorporates pain in every area of life. The coronavirus only proves this fact.
I wrote recently that we are helpless but hopeful. As true as this is, I am also finding that I do not know what to do while I hope. We are all hoping for the end of this virus. We are already making plans for vacations to go on, people to visit, and tasks to accomplish “once this is all over”. We all hope that the virus ends soon but I find that I do not often know what to do while I wait for this seemingly never-beginning end.
Waiting requires patience. It requires creativity and resilience. It requires never giving up hope. I found this hope in one of the last places I ever expected to find it: in the book of Amos.
Finding Hope Amidst Helplessness
After a whole book filled with warnings and destruction, the ending of Amos promised a bright future for Israel and the rest of the world. In fact, God says, “Behold the days are coming when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the trader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.” The imagery here caught my attention. It is so beautiful! Can you imagine it? The world will be so fruitful that there will be so much fruit that even during planting season the harvest will still be overflowing! This is our hope. This is God’s promise to us.
This hope points me to God and allows me to trust Him.
Trusting in God Through Troublesome Times
By January, it was easy to say “I trust in God” as I enjoyed winter break and work. By February, it was effortless to say “I trust in God” as I loved my classes and my activities. By March, however, it was tough to say “I trust in God” as everything I looked forward to was slowly starting to get canceled.
I had planned out my year and how I was going to reach my goals. Suddenly, those plans were made impossible and my future seemed bleak. I knew there was hope but I didn’t know what to do.
David had the exact same issue in Psalm 42. “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God for I shall again praise Him my salvation and my God.” David had been dealing with hatred and struggles within his kingdom. However, he repeats these words over and over again after stating his struggles.
I think David knew what to do. He trusts God. He trusts that God is in control. In fact, right after saying that he remembers God, he writes, “At the roar of your waterfalls, all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.” The emphasis here is important. It is your waterfalls, your breakers, and your waves. David recognizes that God is there in his difficulty and that God is the one who controls the world.
As I trust God, my hope is put most to the test during the “worst” part: waiting.
Waiting: Active or Passive?
I’ve tried some kinds of waiting. I’m not going to lie. It mostly involved binge-watching, binge-eating, and binge-sleeping. It wasn’t productive and after a couple of days, I got bored with it. I wanted to do something. I definitely was not trusting God at these times.
I realized then that there are two kinds of waiting. Passive waiting and active waiting. Passive waiting is when you lose sight of what you are waiting for and just sit back. When the Israelites waited for the Messiah during the period of 400 years of divine “silence”, many of them chose to wait passively. They did not actively worship God or have faith. Too often, in the periods of life when I “feel” far away from God, I do the same thing. However, this is not the kind of waiting which God desires. This is the kind of waiting that led to the Israelites not being ready for Jesus when he came and instead, reveling in legalism and blindness.
God desires the second kind of waiting, which is active waiting. Paul exhibited this kind of waiting in his daily life. Although so much of his time was spent in prison, he did not use these time periods as a time of silence or mourning. Instead, he wrote many letters while he was actually in prison. Paul was waiting for God to break his physical chains and break the spiritual chains of those he was around. However, Paul actively sought God and lived for Him.
Hoping, Trusting, and Waiting
So, let’s see reality. We have immense hope. Now, we must wait. Let’s wait by trusting in God actively. Let’s worship God continually by this time of rest we have been given. Let’s live out our faith in every way God allows whether it be online volunteering or spending time with our families.
I have come to realize the truth of what waiting requires. It requires glasses. Not the rosy ones. Not the clear ones. We need the ones with power. The power to see God’s handiwork in every moment and to hope and live in light of His work.