The Advent season has begun, when we celebrate the coming of Jesus, the messiah.
Dictionary.com defines advent as:
A coming into place, view or being; arrival
Another definition is: the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.
I love the definition, “a coming into place.” It states that something is in motion to take place, but has not yet arrived. Not yet. There is promise in the “coming” and expectation. After all, it is on it’s way, it’s coming! Just hasn’t landed yet.
Today we have created all sorts of devices that give us control over the “not yet” or the waiting. We have GPS that helps us predict the exact time of arrival and it can also offer alternate routes to expedite the arrival time. We have flight tracker to know exactly when a loved one has touched down. We can track packages and know their exact location en route coming to us. So many things, helpful bits of technology, that help us feel control in our times of waiting.
Technology has created an environment and a posture in waiting that doesn’t exactly give way to true waiting. Waiting can be rather unknown in it’s truest form.
We don’t like to wait. But if we have to, we like to know the wait time – thank you Disneyland app! We also don’t like to sit around, being still while waiting. If the app says we have to wait in a line 45 minutes for Space Mountain, we devise a plan to be productive during that time. Half wait in line while the other half run and get churros! Better yet, get a fast pass and show up at the appointed time to wait no longer than 10 minutes!
We make the unknown of waiting manageable as we have discovered how to control the unpredictability of waiting. Maybe it’s not so much that we don’t like waiting as we don’t like not being in control.
Yet we were made for waiting, We were created with a rhythm of seasons. Seasons to be still and seasons to be productive. Even the rhythm of a 7 day week calls for one day of rest. No productivity or rushing about. Just being. Ah- we don’t do well with just being!
But there are some forced seasons of waiting that we just cannot control. Because we’ve created a culture that doesn’t have to wait for anything, these unavoidable forced waits can hit us hard.
God promised the people of Israel a messiah. He didn’t tell them when their messiah would come, but He promised them that he was coming. When they trusted God, they had no idea that it would be 400 years before that messiah came! All they knew was the promise their God made to them, and the faithfulness of their God. The faithfulness that would allow them to put their full confidence in Him keeping His promise. He would made good on His promise… but when?
In the Bible, Joseph was 17 when he had a dream telling of the events of his future. Joseph was 30 when that dream came true! 13 years of waiting, not knowing when the dream would be fulfilled, yet knowing the faithfulness of his God who gave him the dream.
Abraham was 75 when God promised him a son. Abraham was 100 when that son was born! 25 years of waiting, not knowing when that promise would become reality, yet knowing the track record of his God and trusting Him to make good on His promise.
Waiting can be really difficult. But – when waiting on the Lord, WITH the Lord, everything in the waiting experience changes. But it only changes when you know who God is and what He is capable of. When you know He is worth the wait, it makes it a bit easier to just be, and wait.
As we begin the Advent season, the season of waiting and confidently expecting the coming of our savior, it is feeling a bit more personal this year as we've been in a season of waiting since May 21st. For over 6 months now we’ve been waiting on God to guide us to what’s next.
It started with a forced wait of a 2 week quarantine imposed by entering the U.S. via Spain. The first week was nice. We had a little schedule of walking by the water and doing a daily time of debrief from our year abroad. But when the second week came, we began to grow weary of the forced wait. We began to make plans and busy ourselves. Once again, trying to take control of our wait.
But there was a deeper forced wait under the 2 week quarantine that would nag at us far beyond 2 weeks. Waits that are predictable are much more manageable – we have a sense of control. Like a 2 week quarantine. We know it will come to an end, but beyond that, we know when it will end! Knowing the end date makes all the difference in the world during a wait! But the test of a true wait comes when the end date is not revealed, only promised.
The undercurrent wait for us is “what’s next.” We’re waiting on God to give us a new calling, a new vision, a new chapter. We’ve been asking for over 6 months now and we’ve heard nothing. We’ve prayed, listened, sought Godly counsel… yet nothing is stirring within us. No dreams, no passions, no ideas, no direction at all!
I keep saying, if only He would say something – anything! It doesn’t have to be the full unveiling, the full picture, but just something! Like, “hold on, it’s coming!” Anything! But then I realize that He has spoken many things in Scripture to us and those are the words that I need to hold onto during this wait.
“Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
When He said sell everything and go to West Africa, that was just the beginning. I am trusting that He is going to keep His promise and finish that work in us.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
God is working while we’re waiting. He’s on it! He has great purpose in this season and it will be.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
He has already gone before us to prepare the work we will do next. He has created us and equipped us with a purpose.
He has made promises to us, we just don’t know when they will be fulfilled. But we do know the one making the promises and we know His track record with promise keeping! So that make’s waiting a bit easier.
On the way
It just hasn’t arrived yet