Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Weight of Waiting

Advent is one of my favorite seasons though it involves one of my least favorite activities: waiting. Though I'm not especially fond of waiting in a long line at the grocery store or waiting for a traffic light to turn green, this is another kind of waiting. This is waiting on the Lord.

I have dreams, plans, desires that I long to see come to fruition. These are good dreams--plans, I pray, that would give glory to God and stir the affections of the saints toward Him. I'm not alone in this. At the moment, I know of two families in particular who are waiting for some very good things. One waits to see if the Lord would be gracious in continuing to grow a precious child in her womb. Another waits to see if He will grant healing and restoration in their daughter's body. The one word in those sentences on which its content hangs is this: waits.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know the Lord could speak one word in the smallest moment and all would be restored--the little life would grow, the broken body would be healed, and my plans would materialize. He is able. But, as of this morning, He hasn't chosen to reveal His will in these matters yet. Both families (and myself) are waiting. This I do know: God has revealed His will for right now. His will for them and for me is to wait.

There is weight in waiting. It is a gravity that pulls us toward Him. Very few things offer relief or respite but the presence of God and the healing balm of His word.

This weight is a heaviness that presses us down, sometimes on our faces. Many times in my waiting the Lord has shown me that I desire the thing on which I wait more than I desire Him. The realization of my idolatry and the unrelenting kindness of God even in the midst of it leads me to confession and repentance.

This weight refuses to let us go about our day without it reminding us of its presence. In my experience with waiting, I find others' fulfillment of what I'm longing for highlighted. Rarely do I glance through a Twitter timeline without seeing even a hint of this. "Everyone" seems to be not waiting.

For those who wait on the Lord, though, it is not a weight leading to despair but instead a weight that invites us to know hope.

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
The Lord is good to those who wait for him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:19 - 26

By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from the mouth of Simeon, a man well-acquainted with waiting, as he holds the infant Jesus...

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2:29 - 32

This is the hope: the salvation of the Lord has come and will come again to make all things right. It has come in the form of Jesus. Because He has come, all things will be used for our good whether our waiting ends as we've hoped or not. In our waiting and in its end, we get Him.