Advent Reflection on Waiting

Something I’ve learned as I gotten older is to never diminish another’s waiting. We are all waiting on something, the bus, that phone call, him to get on one knee, on our next meal, test results, and so on. The list goes on forever.

Somehow, I find we are always waiting on something big during Lent and Advent. I’m not sure why but in my personal history big moments of waiting happen in the spring and before Christmas. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Waiting for Christ to be born.
Waiting on Christ to return.
Waiting for healing.
Waiting on a move.
Waiting to hear back from a job interview.
Waiting to find out if your family is growing.
Waiting for cancer to take its course.
Waiting for refuge.
Waiting on love.
Waiting for Him.

It seems we are all waiting on something, it’s hard to know when that thing we are waiting on will arrive. God’s timing is not our own, yet He using this time of waiting. He encourages us through the hard days, He gives us room to lament when things seem out of our control. He promises to care for us.

I’m in a season of waiting, I’m sure you are too. During this time I’ve felt everything from anger to fear, anxiety to peace. The range of emotions is vast throughout any one day. I go from great peace & comfort to uncontrollable anxiety and fear. Honestly, most of the time I’m angry. I’m angry at the situation, at people not working on my timeline, at lack of communication, at the mere fact of nothing happening most days to fix or help the situation. Do you ever feel like this too?

Is it just me or does waiting feel like punishment at times? Almost like, you see everyone around you with this thing you are waiting on and are wondering if you don’t have it because you’ve done something wrong, or failed in some way. My husband would be quick to point out this is simply bad theology but let’s be honest we’ve all thought it.

Not everything can be immediate. If God didn’t give us room to grow, and change through waiting, I dare say we’d be wildly unprepared for most of our lives. There is a reason you don’t get pregnant one day and have a baby the next. YOU have to prepare, that babe has to grow. You don’t start college one day and graduate the next. You can’t build a house in a day. Things take time.
God gives us room to prepare.

In the midst of my waiting, I’ve begun to wonder what Mary felt waiting on her baby to arrive. I wonder what she felt the moments that lead up to her and Joseph going into Bethlehem? What was her waiting like? Was she filled with emotion daily? Did the mere fact that she had to wait for 9 months give her great anxiety?
In the end, God prepared a special place for her to give birth, it wasn’t what she had in mind, I’m sure, but God provided.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. -Matthew 6: 25-34 NRSV

Maybe it’s because I’m not good at waiting but I feel like my whole life is about waiting, I’m constantly waiting on whatever happens next. Because of that feeling, I have a hard time enjoying the present. I think you can be happy in the wait, it’s about mindset but waiting for me is filled with anxiety and worry.

I once had a conversation about someone on worrying. They told me it wasn’t Christlike to worry. I disagreed, I think Jesus worried about things. It’s human nature, why else would He go into Gethsemane and pray the way he did? He was worried about the pain, the humiliation, what it would do to his friends, his mother. He still died on the cross but I believe in my heart he felt a full range of emotions about dying, as we all do. He chose to have faith through the worry.

Have faith in the midst of fear.

One of the girls I follow on Instagram has quite honestly had a shitty year. She lost two babies this year during the second trimester, separate times. Something she posted after one of these losses was this:

It’s been a motto for me since she posted it. I feel like 2018 has been full of fear and waiting.

Waiting in fear.
Waiting in worry.
Waiting, waiting, waiting…

Honestly, I’m exhausted. It’s hard to wait on others, on God. It’s a lesson in patience, humility, and perseverance.

Waiting is not sitting back doing nothing either. You can actively wait. Be present and talk about your waiting. We have been doing a lot of praying for and with people in waiting this season at our church. It’s been another timely lesson.

So here I am waiting, through the emotional spectrum, through my worry, through what life throws at us and I’m not alone. I have friends and family waiting with us. They are present, concerned and loving us in unique ways. I’m also using my time of waiting to learn to rest because without this time of waiting we wouldn’t be ready for what happens next.

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