“It is Advent right now, and this year especially, I’m really thankful for Advent. Advent is about waiting, anticipating, yearning. Advent is the question, the pleading, and Christmas is the answer to that question, the response to the howl. There are moments in this season when I don’t feel a lot like Christmas, but I do feel like Advent.” (~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet)
I don’t like waiting.
Our culture has taught us that waiting is a bad thing, and we do everything we can to avoid it.
I keep being thrust into situations where I must wait, and these last few weeks have been agonizing at times. I’ve felt the howl of Advent. This waiting for chemo side effects to subside, for the headache to pass, for answers to come. I’ve waited just as those people in history waited (since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden) for Jesus, the answer to sin’s problem to come.
I long to wait well. I long and ache and pray that I would welcome waiting as an opportunity to worship. But so often I turn waiting into fear and an opportunity to take life into my own hands rather than opening them up and offering my life as a sacrifice.
I must wait until Monday to have my scan. Then I will wait a day for results.
I. must. wait. And I am not the only one. I have friends this week who also face physical limitations, frustrations, recoveries, and treatment. I am aching to be in Ohio and Pennsylvania and with my hurting friends to wait with them.
My sweet friend, Kristin, once pointed me to a sermon preached at her church in Nashville on waiting, and I sobbed through the whole 45 minutes.
My favorite quote?
“Rather than an inconvenience, waiting is to faith what breathing is to life.”
How I long for the faith that views God’s promises as a place to stand firm knowing that He is in control, that my waiting is part of the larger story and that larger story is one of redemption and salvation and hope and glory.
My God… the God Who waited thousands of years for the fullness of time to send His Son as part of His plan of redemption… He is the God Who holds every breath of my life in His hand. He is the God who fulfills every promise. He is the God Who has never failed me. He will not fail me now. He is the God Who sits on His throne as Almighty King, yet bends to me as Abba Father. He makes waiting worth it.
Henri Nouwen said, “It impresses me; therefore, that all the figures which appear on the first pages of Luke’s Gospel are waiting.”
How I long to wait like Zechariah and Elizabeth, like Simeon and Anna, like Joseph and Mary.
In my Advent crying, I feel the longing.
As I struggle with the longing, I wait.
And in my waiting, I will worship.
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” (Luke 1:68)
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