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God Waited

The Lord longs to be gracious to you. Isaiah 30:18

When Denise Levertov was just twelve, long before she became a renowned poet, she had the gumption to mail a package of poetry to the great poet T. S. Eliot. She then waited for a reply. Surprisingly, Eliot sent two pages of handwritten encouragement. In the preface to her collection The Stream and the Sapphire, she explained how the poems “trace [her] own movement from agnosticism to Christian faith.” It’s powerful, then, to recognize how one of the later poems (“Annunciation”) narrates Mary’s surrender to God. Noting the Holy Spirit’s refusal to overwhelm Mary and His desire for Mary to freely receive the Christ child, these two words blaze at the poem’s center: “God waited.”

In Mary’s story, Levertov recognized her own. God waited, eager to love her. He would not force anything upon her. He waited. Isaiah described this same reality, how God stood ready, eager with anticipation, to shower Israel with tender love. “The Lord longs to be gracious to you . . . to show you compassion” (30:18). He was ready to flood His people with kindness, and yet God waited for them to willingly receive what He offered (v. 19).

It’s a wonder that our Creator, the Savior of the world, chooses to wait for us to welcome Him. The God who could so easily overpower us practices humble patience. The Holy One waits for us.

In what areas of your life has God been waiting for you? How might you surrender to Him?
God, it boggles my mind that You wait for me. Wait? For me? This makes me trust You, desire You. Please come. Give me Your full self.


In Isaiah 30:18, the words translated longs (“the Lord longs”) and wait (“all who wait for him”) are the same word in the original language. In one verse we see both the waiting of God and the waiting of man. Isaiah 8:17 also uses this word: “I will wait for the Lord.” Whether the subject of the waiting is God or humans, we’re the ones who benefit, and God is to be praised.

Arthur Jackson

By |2019-12-24T13:21:38-05:00January 3rd, 2020|
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