December 4, 2021


Henri Nouwen continues . . .

“Much of our waiting is filled with wishes. 'I wish that I would have a job. I wish that the weather would be better. I wish that the pain would go away.' 

We are full of wishes and our waiting easily gets entangled in those wishes . . .

(O)ur waiting is a way of controlling the future. We want the future to go in a very specific direction, and if this does not happen we are disappointed and can even slip into despair . . .


But Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary were not filled with wishes. They were filled with hope.  

Hope is something very different. Hope is trusting that something will be fulfilled, but fulfilled according to the promises and not just according to our wishes . . .

Just imagine what Mary was actually saying in the words, 'I am the handmaid of the LORD . . . let what you have said be done to me' (Luke 1:38).  


She was saying, 'I don’t know what this all means, but I trust that good things will happen.' 

She trusted so deeply that her waiting was open to all possibilities. And she did not want to control them. She believed that when she listened carefully, she could trust what was going to happen . . .

Open-Ended Waiting

To wait open-ended is an enormously radical attitude toward life . . .

So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear . . .(this) is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”


Sit quietly for a moment.  Be honest with God.  No one else is listening right now.

What area of your life, what part of your future are you trying to control?

Are you truly open to all the possibilities God has for you, or are you entangled with your own wishes?

Share those wishes with Him. We all have them and He knows them already.

Then, if you dare, pray as Mary did: “I am the servant of the LORD; be it done to me according to Your word.”

Ask God to help you surrender any control you are trying to have over your future. Open your heart to His definition of your life, His desire to mold you according to His love.

Henri Nouwen 372X372

Henri J.M. Nouwen was a Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor, pastor, and author of thirty-nine books on the spiritual life.

About the Author Mary Goldring

​In my faith journey God has always used the writings of other Christ followers to encourage, inspire, and challenge me to a deeper walk with Him. My desire is that He might do the same for you as you read the writings shared in these devotionals. Blessings!

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