Waiting. Who likes it? I don’t think anyone chooses it as their favourite occupation. During my lifetime, waiting has become less and less acceptable. Years ago, when taking photos, we had to wait until all the 20 or 36 photos were shot before we could send the film to a lab. Then we waited a week to receive the prints. We had to wait for letters to be delivered before we received a document, and so on. Now, I’m used to the fact that I can control whether I want instant information or if I will wait for it.
Letting people wait seems to be something God does on purpose. The prophet Isaiah said that God would come to earth and save his people. The sign would be a virgin giving birth to a son. His name would be Immanuel and he would come from King David’s family. The prophet Micah even pinned down that this special ruler from God would be born in the small town of Bethlehem. This was said and written down around 700 years before it happened. Quite a long wait. No wonder that hope faded and the promises were forgotten over the generations that passed.
Then the time was right. God sent an angel to Mary in Nazareth with a message. She was to experience a special blessing through the Holy Spirit and give birth to a son. She should name him Jesus and he would reign in a special kingdom, a kingdom without end. From that teenage experience to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, she had to wait around 30 years. However, the length of time is not just what makes waiting difficult. Uncertainty is probably the most frustrating part.
The longest wait in their souls that Mary and the disciples had ever experienced was probably the two days between Jesus’ death and his resurrection. After that joyful Sunday morning, there was another 40 days waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.
I expect you get the point – waiting seems to be important for God. That is how we learn to trust his promises and to lay down our own attempts at control.
My childhood wait for Christmas evening was exciting. Expectations rose for the arrival of “tomten”, the Swedish Santa Claus. My waiting was confident and hopeful because I knew that there would be gifts for me. Nor was I afraid that the evening would end in tragedy, because no one in the family drank alcohol.
Is there a promise from God you are waiting to be fulfilled? I am not asking about a WISH that you have, but about a promise from God that he wants you to claim. I have a suggestion. Ask for and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be renewed in you. While we wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled, we can fully rejoice in who we are and what we have in Jesus.
Mary believed the words of Gabriel would be fulfilled. When she had given birth, her faith was confirmed by simple shepherds who came to say that her son was the Messiah, the Lord. This Christmas, I will choose not to look for instant rewards in people’s reactions. I will choose to wait for the real presence of the real joy of the real Son of God.
This text has been published in the Heilsarmee Magazin #12/2018