Wait (Don’t Strive) for Resurrection

“There should always be more waiting than striving in a Christian’s prayer.”

– Everlyn Underhill

Near the beginning of our journey, we move from apathy into caring about having a relationship with God. As we grow more attached to Christ and value this relationship, we will quite naturally become more intentional about deepening this relationship with Him. When we come to the point where this relationship has become the most important relationship of our lives, we will often do whatever we can to keep this relationship thriving.

All of what I have described above is good. In fact it is all VERY good. But there is yet a better and higher way – it is a way that all who stay on this path long enough will encounter in one form or another. And an indication that we have come upon this path might be when OUR striving no longer helps us to draw closer to the God we love and instead becomes an obstacle.

The problem is that many of us without wise spiritual guides may not even realise we have reached this point. And when we keep striving and realise our striving is fruitless or even counter-productive, it is easy to become discouraged. And if we are discouraged long enough, it is easy to lose hope. How ironic it is to lose hope when this juncture of the spiritual journey is actually cause for rejoicing!

There is less clarity here, less certainty. More discernment – wise discernment – is required, more surrender and certainly more faith. Here on out we are going to have to learn to WAIT upon the Lord much more than strive towards Him.

Yes – when our striving no longer seems to help us progress in our interior journey as much as before, it is time to rejoice! For this is often when our walk with God takes a turn for the deep. There is less clarity here, less certainty. More discernment – wise discernment – is required, more surrender and certainly more faith. Here on out we are going to have to learn to WAIT upon the Lord much more than strive towards Him.

The way I have come to understand my own journey is this: When I have willingly drawn closer, and when I have willingly asked Christ to be the Lord of my life, then Christ begins to take over the wheel of my life. He is no longer just in the back passenger seat or even riding shotgun beside me as I drive. I’m no longer just following his directions, I have handed the wheel over to him.

Something strange, frustrating and wonderful begins when the wheel is in Christ’s hands. For at the beginning, it is very hard to relax. I wonder where we’re going, why he’s taking certain routes that makes no sense to me, and I even fret about his driving technique (can we please not be so reckless, Jesus?!). There are stretches on the journey where I need to close my eyes just so I don’t feel terrified, and other times when majestic vistas open up before us and I temporarily forget my anxieties.

Christ gives no assurances about what happens on the road – his ONE assurance is that He is with me and if I continue to let him, he will continue to drive me to where he desires me to go.

Eventually I realise that the ride becomes a lot less anxiety-inducing when I shift my attention from what is happening on the road to Christ who is driving beside me. After all, Christ gives no assurances about what happens on the road – his ONE assurance is that He is with me and if I continue to let him, he will continue to drive me to where he desires me to go.

Unfortunately for me, Christ often likes to drive me through my own story. He likes to take me on tours of my personal history and show me defining moments which had shaped my mind and heart. He likes to reveal to me the distortions I had learned about relationship, love, service, obedience, sacrifice, humility, community – which keep me from living for His glory because they ensnare me in ego instead of setting me free to live in and with him more completely.

But the Lord always makes it clear to me that as long as he’s the one driving, it will take as long as it takes.

There are times on this road trip with Jesus that it feels as if we are going backwards instead of moving forwards – and we have had disagreements about this too. But the Lord always makes it clear to me that as long as he’s the one driving, it will take as long as it takes. “It is the Father’s schedule, not mine,” He often says to me, with a wink.

And then Jesus tells me about how his entire life has been about waiting on the Father’s time too. It was in the Father’s time that he took on flesh and became human. It was in the Father’s time that he entered public life and ministry. It was in the Father’s time that he suffered and died. And he waited on the Father’s time for his resurrection from the dead. His entire earthly life’s witness had been to testify that the heart of God the Father can be trusted – that God’s love is true and full and complete. But that it takes the fullness of time – the Father’s time – to be revealed.

To follow Christ is to learn to wait with him upon God the Father for my healing and restoration. It is to learn to wait more than strive, to receive from God more than give, and to love much, much more than to understand.

So many times in the past I have been impatient for my own sanctification. I had thought discipleship was about doing what I do best for God and God’s Kingdom. How wrong I was. To follow Christ is to let him serve me and teach me first. To follow Christ is to learn to focus more on him than on the journey he is taking me on. To follow Christ is to be surprised at how the journey is nothing at all like how I had imagined it would be. To follow Christ is to learn to wait with him upon God the Father for my healing and restoration. It is to learn to wait more than strive, to receive from God more than give, and to love much, much more than to understand.

Written on Easter Monday 2021

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