“Waiting” does not mean doing nothing. It means trust in the face of fear.

A brilliant orange-red sunrise over a large body of water is partially obscured by dark clouds.
Credit: Nick Scheerbart on Unsplash
“In light of everything that is going on in the world right now...”

Someone spoke these words in one of the tele-meetings I took part in this week. The phrase was a lead in to our opening prayer, but I barely heard the words of the prayer as my mind began sifting through a clamor of images of our beloved world this week.

What comes to mind when you think of all that is going on in the world right now?
  • The fires in Australia?
  • The deadly crash in Iran and the losses felt in so many families, universities, communities?  
  • The volcanic eruptions in Philippines?
  • Politically motivated killings in distant parts of the world that touch lives close to home?
  • The weather… very wintry or not wintry enough… signs of our changing climate?
We can quickly make a very long list.

Or do you think of your own world, what you are encountering in your day to day life, or things that are facing the people close to you? At this moment, and at any given moment, there is a lot going on.
  • Illness, surgery, change, decisions, discord… any number of painful things.  
  • Also birth, growth, change, decisions, love… any number of joyful things.
Psalm 40 begins with the words, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.”
Patience is hard in a world with so much going on! “Waiting for God”, when events call us to action?

As the Psalm goes on, we realize that “waiting” does not mean doing nothing. It means trust in the face of fear. It means having ears that are open to what is going on in the world. It means speaking of God’s faithfulness and sharing God’s steadfast love.

We can be patient and busy at the same time.

We need to act, and we need to know that God is here and hears our cries when our actions feel insufficient.

“In light of everything that is going on in the world right now…” We wait patiently for God, we turn to God, and we respond to God’s call.

God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.


Nora Sanders is General Secretary of The United Church of Canada.

This message was originally sent to subscribers to the General Secretary's letter,
 "Note from Nora." Subscribe here.
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