waiting as mindful practice

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Scripture: Lamentations 3 ESV

Lament: Me & Mine (American Aquarium)

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Take It Further: Promises, Promises by Niki Mullis

They only way I know to start this is to echo American Aquarium’s song, Me + Mine:

“These lamentations

Are gonna be the death of me These lamentations

Are gettin’ too damn hard to sing”

As these lyrics continued to vibrate in my being, I felt the singer’s despair, weariness, anguish, and hopelessness merge into my own. This year has been a communal ache, or one could call it a communal dumpster fire. We can all relate on some emotional level and look to the other and say, “I see your pain, and this seems tough for you.” Dare we tap into the fear that God has checked out? Tuned into another channel. Does he not see this world hurting? Maybe if I cry out louder, “Where are you God?” I will get an answer, feel less pain, and the world will get better.

In these moments, my mind is not focused on God’s discipleship or his promises. I cannot remember all the times, before this ache, in which God has shown up because right now my mind and body are screaming for its own survival from this suffering. In fact, our Creator has wired us in this way to protect our emotional and physical selves. We have four responses to trauma or perceived threats: 1) Fight (we show aggression); 2) Flight (we run from the situation); 3) Freeze (we become immobile or unable to decide a way forward); or 4) Fawn (we appease others or ignore our feelings and desires). Where is our hope that this time of waiting, suffering, or pain will get better during these innate responses?

Right before the narrator in Lamentations 3:31–33 tells us “God will not abandon us, walk out and fail to return because of his steadfast love.” The narrator gives us a call for action in the form of waiting. The Message version translates verses 28b to30 as:

“Enter the silence.

Bow in prayer.

Do not ask questions: Wait for hope to appear..

Don’t run from trouble.

How am I supposed to rely on God’s promises? I can only think of two and those are the ones teachers in Sunday school tell you. I am no Bible scholar, but with a Google search and some Bible reading, I found more than seven thousand promises to us in the Bible. (Full transparency—I did not read all seven thousand.) Here some of my favorites:

Exod 33:14: “God is with me in my waiting.”

2 Sam 7:28: “Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.”

Proverbs 1:33: “But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

Exodus 33:14: “God is with me in my waiting.”

Ps 145:9: “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

Ps 130:5: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word, I hope.”

Prov 1:33: “But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

Isa 43:2: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

John 14:27: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

2 Cor 9:8: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

So, may we find a new song to sing in our waiting rooms as we wait on God to fulfill his promises and find hope in his chesed love for us and our world.

 Need more time to sit with the ache? To cry out to God? Click here for a lament from John



We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.

*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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