In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills.
How good are you at waiting? Remember when you were a child how you waited for the arrival of Christmas? You counted the days, made lists, listened carefully to your parents’ conversations for clues as to what you might be getting, or even started snooping in closets and shopping bags because it was just too hard to resist? The excitement and restlessness built, and on Christmas Eve, it was so hard to even sleep!
In that context, you expect that the results will be wonderful—what you dream, anticipate and hope for. In adult life, how do you wait? Waiting for fulfillment, for vocation, for signs of God’s activity and leading, for transformation, for resolution—what is the posture with which you wait? How we wait shows something of our faith and trust in God. We might, like the people of Israel in the wilderness, feel that God is either not acting, or not acting fast enough. We decide to take matters in our own hands. There is a spirit of anxiety and fear underlying our urge to manage life instead of waiting. We don’t always trust God to do something, let alone what we dream of.
But waiting with complacency or resignation, even a sense of fatalism diminishes the value of that which we wait for. Some of the women waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom were waiting with anticipation, fully prepared. The others let things slide, and didn’t have enough oil for their lamps when the time came.
What is your posture as you wait for God? As you prepare your heart in anticipation of what is coming? Paul speaks in many places (Romans 8:23, Galatians 5:5, Philippians 3:26, 1 Corinthians 1:7) of waiting eagerly. The word is defined as assiduously and patiently waiting—in a way that is constant, unremitting, diligent, attentive or persevering. Advent is a time of waiting, preparing to receive our king. But it requires sustained faith that continues with stamina. God seems to have intentionally created life which requires this leaning forward and learning to wait well in faith. He has given us reason to hope, even in this life of ‘already/not yet’. Even as we, like the people of Israel, look forward to the fulfillment of God’s reign among us, we can and do experience the present reality of his presence and work.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:6-8
Imago Dei Christian Communities
Rob and Ruth Des Cotes
(written for Advent 2014)
For Group Discussion:
1. Think of a situation of waiting. How well did you wait? What was your posture? Note the sources of restlessness, anxiety, fear, despair or resignation.
2. How do you hold the ‘already/not yet’; the darkness is passing, the true light is already shining; the hour has already come and our salvation is nearer than we first believed (Romans 13:11-12)?
3. What helps you wait well? Where is your focus?
For Prayer: Teach us, God, to wait in faith and trust. Help us to protect and preserve the hope we carry with one another for the coming of the true light into our world.