By Samantha Wittgen
Personality tests flatter me, calling me a “Protagonist,” meaning that I am often both proactive and hopeful—the helper in a story or conflict. Off-screen, I know what that means: I am enticed by the idea that things could be better. I wait, assuming that in the future when I have that car-job-house-relationship-family-financial-status-redemption, I will be more satisfied.
Merriam-Webster defines waiting as “staying in a place in expectation; looking forward expectantly.” The Hebrew word for wait, qavah, means “the tension of enduring; to look eagerly.” These two definitions speak to the essence of waiting. It includes eagerness and expectation, a forward focus while staying in the current position for a time. Waiting, although uncomfortable, is not bad. It is simply an orientation of our hearts and thoughts.
Qavah. I remember this summer waiting for a job.
Qavah. I have friends hopefully, expectantly, desirously waiting to have a child.
Qavah. People are waiting for phone calls, answers that may never come.
Qavah. There are entire communities waiting to be heard, waiting for justice.
Richard Rohr, priest and author, speaks about waiting, calling our position in waiting liminal space, which he defines as,
“a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer.”
Your story of waiting may include doubt, patience, anger, or joy. In this place, this liminal space, this qavah, I hope you can cling to the promise that God remains with you. As we continue walking together through the season of Advent, the season of confidently waiting for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, my hope is that we will also confidently orient our hearts towards Truth. Let’s be people who eagerly await Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.