The God who waits

Staff_team_2015 Posted by Roger Cooke on Mon, 21 Dec 2015 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Over the past couple of weeks, our Advent blogs have offered some simple reflections on waiting – one of the main themes of this season of hope and expectation. However, as the countdown continues to the celebration of Christ’s birth, it’s worth reminding ourselves of a truth that I find both comforting and inspiring: God waits for us.

If I had to choose one parable from Jesus’ teaching, one story, that has had the biggest impact on my understanding of God, of faith, of me, it would be the story of the Loving Father and His two lost sons. It tends to be entitled ‘The Parable of the Lost Son’ or ‘The Prodigal Son’ but that kind of misses the point.

And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

This is a story about a father who waits; a man who searches for his lost, wandering son; a God who runs, with open arms, to embrace those who return to Him. It’s also a story about the father waiting for another son, to overcome his self-righteous bitterness and join the party.

This is a story that reveals God’s patience with you and me. Whether we’ve strayed away and have lost sight of home, or whether we’ve ‘stuck around’ but have become proud, detached and angry, God waits…to welcome us, to embrace us, to love us.

During Advent – and indeed throughout the Christmas season (which begins on Christmas Day!) – I know that there are precious gifts on offer if I look to God and see Him searching, yearning and waiting. I know that if return, if I take even faltering steps towards Him, He’ll come running with open arms, to embrace me and bring me home.

If it it true that God in Jesus Christ is waiting for our response to divine love, then we can discover a whole new perspective on how to wait in life. We can learn to be obedient people who do not always try to go back to the action but who recognise the fulfilment of our deepest humanity in passion, in waiting. If we can do this, I am convinced that we will come in touch with the glory of God and our own new life.

Henri J M Nouwen, ‘The Spirituality of Waiting’ (published in ‘Weavings’, January 1987)

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