Waiting for the Hand of God
“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning.” —Psalm 130:5-6
A year ago, I met a woman who was experiencing homelessness. She had ended a relationship for whatever reason and now found herself struggling to find a place to call home. She was hopeful, trusting that God would help her through this period in her life. She no longer knew the comforts of home and all those things we take for granted, like a warm shower or a nice, cozy place to watch a movie. She missed being able to cook for herself or having a place to wash her clothes.
Despite it all, she had a godly patience. Waiting for the hand of God to deliver.
A year later, she is still in this predicament of homelessness. Surprisingly, her patience is still intact. Or perhaps can we call this holy impatience? She is by no means content about her situation. She is ready — she is desperate to move on to the next step of her journey. She is ready to find a place to hang her hat. She is ready to stop the worry about where she will lay her head at night.
Despite it all, she carries a holy impatience. Waiting for the hand of God to deliver.
And this is what speaks to me. This is what challenges me. This is what inspires me.
I also think of our community we walk with at the Edmonton Native Healing Centre,
a people who sometimes have no choice but to wait. . . .
- waiting in line at night to get a spot in one of the local shelters.
- waiting in line for a warm meal at a community kitchen.
- waiting for an opening for treatment to address their addictions.
- waiting for a social worker to get back to them on a request for help.
- waiting for the long night to end.
- waiting for the morning to come.
Instead of looking inward this Advent season, I need to look outward. I need to look at our community and the people who may be on the margins of society and yet somehow exude godly impatience. They remind me of a people made in the image of God — a people who have no choice but to wait. No matter how hard their journey may be, they extend grace with words like “Thank you” and “God bless you” after we offer a simple warm meal at the healing center’s weekly soup and bannock days.
The community, the people — even in their darkness, I can see the light of God and a glimmer of hope.
Prayer: God, we thank you for the gift of community. We thank you for the inspiration in the lives of people all around us. May we be open to learn from all who come across our path. Help us to see the light, the resilience, the hope and love you have given to your people.We think especially of those who experience homelessness, poverty, addictions, and violence, and we ask you, Great Healer, to be steadfast in their situations. If you call us to be helpers and healers, give us the courage to answer that call.
Michelle Nieviadomy, a member of the Cree nation, is the assistant director of the Native Healing Centre in Edmonton, Alta. She was also part of the CRC delegation to the climate talks in Paris in 2015 and is passionate about helping people understand how climate change is affecting us all, including many Indigenous peoples and their communities who depend on the land, lakes, and sea for their livelihood.