Another three weeks! The last three were enough; now we have to suffer another 21 days (minimum) of social isolation and lockdown. Even the strongest of us will surely begin to flag; there are only so many tasks to perform, rooms to clean, phone calls to make, books to read, walks to explore and TV programmes to watch. So what are we going to do?
In my last article, I wrote about waiting, and making it a positive thing rather than just a period to endure. But watching and waiting are often spoken together. Parents will often tell their children to “Wait and See,” with the clear implication that something important (usually good) is going to happen soon. And we always refer to night watchmen, not night waiters! Times of waiting should always be approached with patience and with the expectation that something good is going to happen or that something bad may be prevented by watching. So, in the Bible waiting is often synonymous with watching. The same Greek word is used in the New Testament for both keeping awake and for spiritual alertness, in other words, watching. We need to become good “watchers.”
So, how can we make sure that this time of waiting can be positive rather than frustrating? The Bible tells us: “be on your guard; stand firm in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16 v 13). It is very easy to be negative about your circumstances, to allow your mind to drift into possible future scenarios. “Will I catch the dreaded Covid-19?” “How will I ever manage to pay the bills, put up with the kids for another month, or find another job when this is over?”
The Bible can help us here. Instead of dwelling on circumstances in fear or frustration, we can turn our thoughts away from ourselves to God’s peace and purposes in our lives. Psalm 130 verse 5 states, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
This turns our situation on its head; instead of fear there is peace, instead of doubt there is faith and instead of frustration there is hope. This time of waiting can become a time of watching instead, looking to see what God can do and wants to do in your life rather than trying to sort it all out yourself. Watching means that we trust God to work in and through our lives to accomplish what he wants to do. Isaiah 30 verse 18 tells us that “the Lord longs to be gracious to you ….blessed are all who wait for him.” The old hymn Great Is Your Faithfulness is actually a quotation from Lamentations 3 verses 22-24. Why not look it up and see how it can apply to you?
Let’s all become watchers rather than just waiters!