It’s just such a deceptively great phrase! And it applies regardless of what you’re waiting for.
Because there’s so many directions you can take the idea of “graceful”, at least in my mind. And because there’s an alternative: to wait gracelessly. I’ve done my share of that.
What could “wait gracefully” mean?
1. Graceful appearance
The outward appearance of our lives can be staggered, jerky, tumultuous and ungainly, or it can be smooth, tranquil, flowing, and confident – pleasing to the eye.
Like a running horse. I’ve rarely seen a graceless horse.
Okay, yes, there is that, but even a rolling horse is graceful.
The ungainly life is what we get when we lack confidence in God’s goodness as we wait. We allow our emotions to get the best of us, tempting us into grasping and taking matters into our own hands, making our wait rocky and damaging. Others can tell that the wait is wearing on us.
Please don’t hear judgment in that. I did that myself for a long time.
But when joy is part of the equation, our waiting becomes calm, hopeful, pleasing to others’ eyes. It won’t be perfect. There may still be groaning; there may still be tears; there may still be bitter questions. But others will be able to tell that there’s something underlying the waiting, some source of power beyond us. Our waits will attract others, make them wonder just what (or Who) our secret is.
2. Graceful overflowing
Waiting isn’t passive, and it isn’t inward-focused like a bad toenail. Though there are acute, fervent dreams God gives us, he also has his own dreams for us to consider. There are those around us who need grace, and we are his hands and feet.
Do we strive to serve, to evangelize, to listen, to embrace, to disciple during our wait? Are we allowing our gifts to spill over onto others while we wait for God’s blessings to spill onto us?
3. Graceful receiving
I have said this before, but it seems truer with every passing season: some of God’s graces must be accepted. God is offering, honestly, a ton of grace to get us through our trials and waits, and we’re not always accepting it. We’d rather hold onto our pride. “C’mon, God – can’t you just end this?” we complain.
We also fear that God might merely extend the wait if we show we can handle it. A rather irrational thing, perhaps, but I’ve done it, and I know friends who have as well.
Let’s instead receive with open hands the joy God has for us. It enables the other two items.
We can live like an old 70s jeep on a ragged mountain trail, or we can live like a boat on a calm lake. Choosing the jeep won’t end the wait any faster.
I choose the lake, knowing Jesus can calm those waters.