May 6, 2014

Spiritual Neutral, Part II: The Action In My Inaction

As I said in the previous post, waiting in spiritual neutral is does not mean motionlessness and stagnation. There will be action or things going on in what appears to be God’s inaction. It's just that my senses are not sensitive enough to pick out God’s acts from the background static of the world. It could be that He is doing something so vast that I am standing too close to the mountain to see it moving. Just like I view myself as motionless when lying in my bed but the truth is I'm hurdling through space on a radial arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

I have learned that change can happen in the waiting.

God’s actions can often seem the same. Without the sensation of movement I can often be fooled into believing nothing is actually happening when in reality I am closer and closer to the place God wants me every day. Again, this requires trust in God that what He is doing is to my benefit and I must believe in true faith that all will work out in the end. The pain may be physical but the gain is nearly always spiritual with God.

What I should do in this season of waiting is view my painful task of waiting as a form of obedience which should further be seen as a form of worship to God. Yes, I know, I never saw it that way until now either. If we look at how most people worship God would appear that worship really is a form of waiting or at least a pause for reflection. We often stop everything, sit or stand in one place and attempt to quiet our souls and minds and focus solely on God. So in truth I am not really being passive about what appears to be a lousy situation but instead I am turning control over to God and in doing so I am offering a form of worship through obedience in waiting. 

It is an active passivity though. I am not going totally limp here and becoming an evangelical jellyfish. Instead I am making my will passive or subservient to God. In doing so it makes total sense that this would literally effect me at the physical and psychological level. This passivity means waiting until a clear indicator is given to do otherwise. Again, the wait may require superhuman endurance...and that is the point. What I find though is that instead of waiting and being a builder of faith I digress. Instead of seeing what I have in Christ, I end up letting the wait be a disappointment or letdown. I focus on the tangible things that I don’t have or have not been able to acquire because I am in a divinely ordained neutral. I then reach for substance but grasp nothing but straws. My focus has been in the exact wrong direction if I do this. I do the same in my worship at times. I get distracted by the anxieties and worries of the world.

Scripture is replete with exhortations to wait on God. Sometimes we are even told of the benefit for doing so. Isaiah tells us our strength will be renewed and bolstered with strength and endurance. Hopefully this will be for further service to the Lord. 

Isaiah 40:31 ~ “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

James speaks to us of waiting in our suffering.

James 5:7-8 ~ “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

James' thoughts are paralleled and elaborated on by Paul in Romans. The idea that suffering might pervade our wait is then reinforced. 

Romans 5:3-4 ~ “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”

The idea that the waiting and suffering is to serve a positive "God purpose" then gets shown to us by Peter. Peter shows us that the waiting is clearly not a punishment but may actually be a plan by God to assist us in avoiding eternal punishment. This is just the opposite of what many believe they are going through when being forced to wait. 

2 Peter 3:9 ~ “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

If the wait is actually an attempt to avoid eternally perishing, this premise assumes that either one is not saved or this waiting is a merciful act of sanctification to make the believer more holy in their act of repentance. So you see, waiting even for extended periods is indeed Biblical and it does indeed serve a purpose even though you might not be able to see it from your vantage point.

So, in passive acts of obedience or in patient waiting, it makes sense that I should be praying constantly just as I would in worship whether it be individual or communal. I might be physically torpid or appear stationary but I am not spiritually immobile by any means. This misunderstanding is the path to apathy and apostasy. Instead, I should be attentive and attuned to God’s Spirit in a way I never have before in the past and this is exactly where I find myself right now. Just because I am waiting does not mean I am not worshiping and searching out God’s will through His word. I am currently buried in Scripture like a squirrel trying to find last year’s acorn. Things are anything but parked or immobile right now. Movement is just taking on different form that I have not seen before and ironically, can't really see right now either. Come to think of it, grace has taken on a few new forms in all of this also. The bottom-line: There is action in my inaction, there is worship in my waiting and God lies behind all of it...

[Concluded In Part III]

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