Grace Institute News
December 14, 2011
wait and know...
We're in a season of waiting. Advent is a season of anticipation and expectant waiting in preparation for the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child. For about a month we are the expectant children with noses pressed against the window pains, waiting for the signs that the honored guest has arrived.
We accept, sometimes begrudgingly, most of this waiting time because we're acquainted with the process. We know the progression of the season, we are accustomed to the hurried pressure of gift buying, we anticipate the social engagements and frenetic nature of this month. We even know the expected songs to sing and Bible verses to study. We know Christmas. And so we wait.
But we really don't like it. We wait for our congregation to grasp the meaning of stewardship and continue to whittle down our expenses to meet the money that is coming in. We wait for people to feel the call we can see they're being led to even when they can't. We wait for people to become passionate about the difference Jesus has made in their lives. We wait for God to intervene in our own lives. We wait as doctors try to figure out what is causing our daughter so much agony and pain. Our friends and colleagues wait to hear if they will have a job in the new year, and whether the cancer test came back negative or positive, and what needs to be done so that their child can breath without difficulty. These kinds of waiting are not filled with joy; they are not filled with hopeful anticipation, they are not filled with wonder. These every day kinds of waiting are hard. They are in the category of suffering.
And so the words Paul wrote in Romans ring in my ears: we rejoice because we know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character hope, and this hope does not disappoint us because we know how dearly God loves us...
I read the Psalm: Be still and know that I am God.
I remember the blind man who came to Jesus and at first touch could only see figures like trees. And it took a second touch by Jesus for the man's sight to be completely restored.
And I realize that sometimes our waiting, our suffering at the moment, is for our benefit. It forms in us the faith and hope we desire, it gives us the time we need to catch up to the workings of the God of the Universe. It need not be in despair that we wait. We can wait through all of these moments in hope. I don't understand it. But I need to claim it. I want this hope to be the gift people receive from God this year as they celebrate the birth of their Savior. With God there will be suffering, but with God there need not be despair.
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