It’s an interesting question. Maybe I could add it to the list of questions to deepen your relationships. Because it’s applicable to pretty much every homo sapien on the planet.

 

What’s one thing you are waiting for?

 

It tells you something about a person, I think. What they hope for; long for. Waiting bubbles with questions, simmers with desire.

 

You’d find answers anywhere from Christmas break to this deployment to be over. Or maybe test results.

A baby.

Him to propose.

Finally getting out of this checkout line so I can get off my feet, which are about to fall off.

Don’t Waste the Waiting

So I guess it’s only fair I would disclose a little of what I’m waiting for. I thought about it all this week. See, I was trying to understand why I’m battling against just generally feeling low. Yes, I’m at that weird six-month point after a move. But after a year of a peculiar form of mourning and loss, I still feel like I’m a bit camped out on Saturday. The day before a resurrection.

More specifically, I’m looking for God to give “light to my eyes” (Psalm 13:3); to breathe life and joy into my new life here in America–really, a sense of purpose. God’s been so kind to give this to my children, my husband. But part of me is still…waiting.

 

And after a long period of waiting a few years ago, I don’t want to waste it. I don’t want to waste the waiting.

 

As a kid, I don’t think I would have seen that strong undercurrent braided into Christmas. I mean, sure. Waiting for presents, right? For Grandma’s house! But now, I can’t help but hear the yearning.

 

Maybe it’s what makes me a little wistful when I feel lyrics like these plucking at my heart:

 

O come, O come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear

 

Waiting can make us feel captive at times, eyes riveted to the door, ears tingling as we listen for the keys that signal freedom; the end of waiting. Ransom us. When it comes to Christmas, so long people had been waiting. Laboring, really. Waiting to be rescued.

 

…The prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you…things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1)

Christmas speaks so specifically to the perfection of God’s timing–the swelling of millennia of waiting.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son. (Galatians 4:4)

 

For those times when your season in life feels so off-this speaks to the utter miraculous precision of all of history, timed like an exquisite aria. It was all moving toward this crescendo. Like the supernatural, punctual phenomenon of Star of Bethlehem, waiting is never out of step. Never wasted time.

What this perfect timing means for us earthlings: No one has truly “died too young.” Has missed their opportunity by “this much.” Has royally screwed up so that God’s wringing his hands. Well, dang. Why’d you have to go and do that? Or more on the waiting end of things, guess we missed the boat. It’s simply too late. Like I’m sure an octegenarian Abraham felt. Or Mary and Martha staring at a brother’s closed tomb. Or those who sat in the “dead space” of 400 years waiting for a word from God, waiting for a Messiah.

 

Why Waiting?

 

Waiting has the power to kick my growth into overdrive. (I have some choice in this. It can also harden me. Break me.) I love this author’s thoughts about how one of waiting’s primary fruits is simply patience: and in that patience, a surrender to the control of God.

 

Waiting is a form of humility.

 

I think of Abraham, waiting twenty years after God’s promise for a son. He even tried to rush it a bit. So I must include one of my favorite truisms a la Peter Scazzero:

 

I, like Abraham, had birthed many ‘Ishmaels’ in my attempt to help God’s plan move forward more efficiently.[i]

 

(Maybe it’s easier to think about a modern metaphor, like taking chicken out of the oven: too early, and your whole family could regret it.)

Handled poorly, our waiting can be harmful to everyone as it lashes out in fear.

 

Yes, waiting can still be active: not stealing control from God, but courageously taking part in an answer to some of my prayers. (Sometimes the actions motivated by fear and faith don’t look that different on the outside.)

 

Christmas shouts that God determines the best when, the best where. I hear that trustworthiness in verses like these:

 

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7

O Lord, we wait for You. Your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. Isaiah 26:8

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you. And therefor He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice. How blessed are all those who long for Him. Isaiah 30:18

Are there any among the idols of the nations that give rain?…Is it not You, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in You, for You are the One who has done all these things. Jeremiah 14:22

To those who by patience in well-doing seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. Romans 2:7

 

I don’t know what you’re waiting for this Christmas. I’ve got a feeling it’s for something more weighty than hooves on a rooftop. But let me assure you: Those who wait on him aren’t ever–ever–put to shame.

 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

LIke this post? You might like

Don’t Waste the Waiting

Waiting for Rain

Here in the Waiting

For the Days when You Feel Powerless, and Parts II and III

Off-Season: When You’re Not Where You Wanted to Be, When You Wanted to Be There, and Parts II and III

 

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