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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Passionate Waiting, Diligent Seeking

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up.  They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!  I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.  It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.  It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times.  When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence.  Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions.  Wait for hope to appear.  Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst.  Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return.  If he works severely, he also works tenderly.  His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.  He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way.  (Lamentations 3:22-33)

Lamentations is one of those books of the Bible that people seldom turn to or quote in day-to-day exchanges about the greatness of God.  When I first started reading it, I kind of thought, "Pretty dry stuff!"  Then I came across this passage and it came alive!  Who knew?  Good stuff hidden in some pretty dry reading!

The merciful love of God - his loyal love - new every morning!  Beyond the mundane of my today is the awesome of God's love!  Woohoo!  Look at the writer's disposition here.  He is feeling pretty beat up by life.  If you took the time to read the couple of chapters just before this, you'd see that he has been through some pretty ugly stuff and his walls seem to be coming in around him.  Life has been a challenge and he is barely keeping up!  Yet, in the midst of it all, he has made a determination of heart that keeps him steady - I am sticking with God!  Sometimes, that is all we feel we have left in the midst of the toughest stuff we face in life - God and nothing else.  The writer goes on to say, "God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks."  What a hope for each of us!

Knowing my joy in looking at the meaning of words and seeing the "meat" contained in the various definitions of the word, you'll have to indulge me just a moment here while I explore the meaning of "passionately" and "waits".  See, I don't really connect waiting with being passionate!  I find the two ideas just a little bit at the opposite ends of my understanding.  If I am passionate about something, I usually am pretty much driven by that passion - it energizes, it pulls me forward, and I am "active" in my passion.  Waiting implies that I am not moving forward, perhaps not even very energized about the whole thing.  So, why does this writer connect the two?  Let's look.

Passionately carries the following meanings:
  • To be affected by something so deeply that there is an expression of intensity within - kind of like an enthusiasm
  • To be capable of being acted upon by some external agent or force - not dead to what once moved you deeply and can move you deeply once again
  • To be moved in such a way that you exude fervor or zeal - intense emotion that compels you to act and not be immobile
Okay - see why I think passion cannot be connected with waiting?  The idea that comes to mind when I think of passion is something like a current - maybe it is hidden below the surface, but it has an intensity that carves out the course of the river and keeps the waters fresh and new each and every day!  Waiting implies that we are staying in place - but don't miss the very next definition that Webster gives!  It implies that we stay in place in expectation of something, with a readiness to receive or respond.  Now, do you see why the writer connects the two?

Think of it this way - you are having your passions ignited by a holy and passionate God in order to be ready to respond to the moves he makes within your life!  Even in the waiting, there needs to be the compelling of our heart to earnestly seek with a passion that comes from deep within.  To this, the writer adds that we need to be diligent seekers.  Steady, earnest, and energetic in our pursuit of God's best in our lives.  Someone who seeks is one who makes every attempt to discover, to ask for or request in such a way that nothing else will satisfy until what is hidden is discovered completely.  That is the absolute culmination of passionate waiting!