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 hand-written 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 the Spirit’s 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. God would not force anything upon her. He waited. Isaiah described this same reality, how God stood ready, zealous with anticipation, to shower Israel with tender love. “The Lord waits to be gracious to you, and . . . to show mercy to you” (30:18
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.
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