Psalm 27:14 – Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (NIV)
There are many functions involved in Advent: preparing, watching, and praying, but it's the waiting that is hard. We know Advent is here again when every parking spot at the local mall is full, and every square on the calendar has a scribble on it. It is a busy time, and the time goes fast. Before we know it, Christmas is here, and there is still much to do.
We are in a different kind of space this Advent. My close friend is facing serious surgery in a few days' time. Instead of writing Christmas letters and addressing cards, we have been involved in a different set of preparations. The doctors have finished many procedures: a colonoscopy, an echocardiogram, and the pre-surgical consultations. All have taken us to the hospital an hour's drive away. Preparing keeps one busy; it's the waiting that is hard.
I think of Mary and Joseph travelling, looking for a spot to bed down for the night, and I look out the window at the early morning fog and think of the drive we must do today.
It's hard to sleep; it's the waiting that is hard.
Watch, wait, pray! Those are Christ's words. I can watch and pray as I am an activist. It's the waiting that is hard, waiting for that surgery date, that due date, that exam, that leave-taking. How does one wait well?
Today's Scripture speaks of being strong, taking heart, as we wait. Then comes the caveat: "Wait for the Lord." We are waiting basically for the Lord's timing, the Lord's action, when all will be brought together in a way that is a blessing from our loving and understanding God. When we get ahead of the Lord, nothing goes right. When we worry and take the reins into our own hands, nothing goes right. The Lord's move is obvious: everything goes smoothly in a way that is surprising. So we learn patience as we put our faith in God, and wait!
Prayer: Lord, we learn a lot from waiting, waiting, waiting — learning to rest in You. Help us to trust in You, as we commit our worries and our loved ones, our decisions and our future into Your care. May we learn how to wait in You today. Amen.