"Waiting for Strength"
January 31, 2024, 6:00 AM

Franciscan Fractals: “Waiting for Strength”

Contemplating today’s culture with the wisdom of Jesus and St. Francis.

God does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-30

Winter weather lingers. The Israeli-Hamas war expands. People die. The Ukrainian-Russian war stagnates. More people die. Shooters continue to enter schools and stores. Still more people die. Dear God, we are faint and weary. How long, O God?

Our stories today are no different than in the times of the prophets. When will the narrative change? And, we wait . . . and wait . . . and wait. We wait for things to change for us. Could it be that in our waiting, God is waiting for something else?

We often rest in the notion that God is all powerful, all knowing, all good, and poised to confront the reality of our lives. If God has all of these attributes, then God should do something to stop all of this chaos in the world. Our response is to wait until God, the ultimate hero, comes to end all of the pandemonium.

In his prophecies, promises that even the youth who have become weary and the young who have been exhausted will have their strength renewed. They will fly like eagles, run without becoming weary, and walk without fainting. What a marvelous and miraculous promise from a God who is unsearchable and never faints or grows weary. Again, all this comes to those who wait.

So, why haven’t these promises been fulfilled by ending our wars, school shootings, and the violence we experience? We have been waiting. Why hasn’t God stopped these tragedies and put an end to the suffering?

It may be because we have distorted the meaning of the term, “wait.” The word “wait” in Scripture means spending time with God, so that God begins to take charge of our lives. “Wait” does not mean waiting for a magician to save us from all of the tumult and turmoil. “Wait” means that we are to be diligent in seeking an ongoing connection with God. It is a relationship that results in hope and trust. This seeking requires faith, patience, humility, meekness, keeping the Commandments, and endurance in prayer. 

In a nutshell, the world’s chaos is not going to cease until we follow Christ’s commandment to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:37) Yet, paradoxically, we find it difficult to meditate or pray regularly, even for a few minutes a day.

The Good News is that God is still waiting for us – waiting for us to give up the things that make God second place in our lives.

Blessings and Prayers,

Fr. John