So the countdown to Christmas is officially on. The coke advert is out, John Lewis has had his moment and Christmas movies are in full flow. Advent is upon us. The season of waiting.
But waiting isn’t just about 24 days in December. It’s about the whole of our lives. As Christians, we are waiting for the return of Jesus, the ‘full redemption of our bodies’ (Romans 8:23). We’re waiting for Gods kingdom to come fully, and an end to all suffering, sickness and death. We know Jesus has come and Jesus has won, but there’s still a wait. There’s the wait for life’s ‘big’ events; for Mr or Mrs Right, that dream job, that fitness goal, that relationship to restore, that career defining moment, the all-clear from the Doctor.
Waiting is here to stay. In our instant world, little of significance is instant! We’ll all have to wait, it's not an option. But how we wait is entirely up to us. In the book of Genesis, we see Abraham, a man of faith, who waited well – at least most of the time. That was, until frustrated and disappointed at the seeming silence of God, he and his wife began to take matters into their own hands.
We’ll all have to wait, it's not an option. But how we wait is entirely up to us.
Sarah especially it seems, interpreted Gods silence as his rejection (‘The Lord has kept me from having children’ Genesis 16:2). But silence isn’t rejection; its often the way God works to change and shape us into who he is calling us to be. Abraham responded to his wife’s suggestion that he sleep with her servant out of fear, not faith (‘Abram agreed to what Sarah said” Genesis 16:3). A faith decision would have trusted in God. Fear demanded he take action.
May God help us wait. And wait well, believing that he will come through for us. Because he will – just as he came through for Abraham and Sarah. Genesis 21 tells us that when Abraham was 100 years old, Isaac was born. What an amazing God we serve. Abrahams wait, for now, was over.
And like Abraham, by faith, our ultimate wait is over.
The gospel of Matthew, after 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments, kicks off the New Gospel era with the announcement of the birth of Jesus to a waiting world. But before Matthew gets to the story, he tells us about the long line of men and women in Jesus’ family who came before him. At first glance it can look like a long list of names with little relevance to our everyday lives. But look closely, and you’ll see the treasure. You’ll see the line of family members who knew what it was to wait. A wait that started with Abraham, and ends with the person of JESUS (see Matthew 1). Jesus is the wait perfected, the great arrival, the be-all-and-end-all. Wait well. It will be worth it.
Questions for reflection and application:
- How am I waiting in this season? Is it calm, measured, or am I allowing anxiety to take hold?
- Is what I’m waiting for becoming more precious than my relationship with Jesus? How would I know that? What would that look like if that were the case?
- How am I processing disappointment? Are there people I am sharing this with and working it through with? If not, how can I make this change?