Waiting is hard. Especially in our culture of instant gratification. Waiting is an incubator of our hopes and fears.
Yesterday was the beginning of Advent – a time in which the church remembers she is waiting for the day of the Lord. We wait like Simeon waiting for the consolation of Israel.
As I was preparing for yesterday a few things struck me.
First , waiting is a profound act of trust. We wait because the most important action that can be taken is not one for us to make. We wait for God to act. We trust that God’s timing is right, God’s action will show compassion and righteousness, and the outcome will be better than we imagine. Waiting is an act of faith in God. King Saul could not wait (1 Sam 13). It did not turn out well for him. In our hurry-up age, perhaps advent can retrain us in the gift of waiting. Waiting can refresh our faith in God. Waiting can remind us that the most important action is not ours to make, but God’s. After all, Simeon’s waiting ended with Jesus coming. In our work in church community, it is what the Spirit does that is of primary importance. Wait for the Lord. It is always worth the wait.
Second, as we wait for the coming the Lord I am reminded of Peter’s words that God is not slow in fulfilling his promise but is longsuffering , “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Which really means that we are not just waiting for God, but for all the others God is seeking. So it makes me wonder: Who are you waiting for? Could it be your child, your sibling, your friend, your co-worker, your neighbour? The table is set, the guests are starting to arrive, but we are waiting for the last guest to arrive. Who are you hoping will come? Waiting becomes praying.
Have a blessed advent… of waiting.