A Contemplative Exercise in Waiting
“God sees the truth and waits.” –Leo Tolstoy
In a broken world, permeated with every injustice, why does God wait? Or is God waiting for us? How do we wait for God's grace when we are agents of God's grace?
I offer this contemplative exercise for my fellow ‘waiters’:
Clenched Fist: With your right hand, make a tight fist and gaze at it. This fist represents our impulse to act independently of God—the delusion of autonomy. It’s pride and self-will. The clenched fist grasps and clings, manipulates and masters, makes and takes. It’s the fist of self-will that says, "If God won't do something, I will."
Limp Wrist: Hold out your left hand in front of you, palm down and let your wrist go as limp as possible When self-will backfires, the resulting crash leaves us jaded or cynical, world-weary and lethargic. The limp hand represents despair and resignation. When God doesn’t act as we had expected, hoped or demanded, we are tempted to say, "If God won’t do something, why should I?"
Open Hands: Finally, open both hands in front of you, palms up like an expectant child. These are the hands of receptivity, waiting for grace in the person of Christ. Open hands wait on the mercy of Christ, but don't project what God must do. Christ may hold these hands in his wounded hands as you wait together. Christ may place a gift in your hands—a gift of peace, patience, endurance, etc. Or he may anoint the hands to give, serve, comfort or heal. By waiting on grace, our actions will be rooted in grace rather than in the ego, and thus empowered by grace to be grace in the world.
How does Christ come to you today? What would he do with your open hands?