I don’t like to wait for my phone battery to charge. I don’t like waiting for a stoplight to turn green. Sitting on the phone listening to a recording that says, “Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line for the next available representative” will drive me crazy.
I get impatient waiting for my kids when I’m sitting in my car and they are still inside looking for their other shoe. Seriously, how do you misplace one shoe?
I go grocery shopping at 11:30 pm so I won’t have to wait in lines. I will drive miles out of my way to get off of a freeway that has stop and go traffic.
I had to get my driver’s license renewed recently. I waited in line to get a number. I waited in line to get the right form. I waited to turn the form in. I waited to get my picture taken. Then I waited three weeks for my license to arrive.
I’m a poor waiter.
This is not a new thing for me. When I was eight years old, I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come. I was so anxious to find out what I was getting for Christmas, I snuck into my parent’s room and opened part of the wrapping on my gifts to see what I was getting. It was my worst Christmas ever. Not only were there no surprises for me that year, but my parents must have changed their mind on one gift because my brother ended up getting the gift that I was expecting.
Next Sunday, we begin the season of Advent. Sometimes we think of Advent as a time of baking, shopping and preparing for Christmas. But really, it is a time for waiting. It is a time to wait for the coming Christ.
We wait for Christ on three different time levels.
We wait for Christ in the Past – This is where we experience him coming as a baby to a little town called Bethlehem. We wait by lighting candles on the Advent wreath or by counting down the days on an Advent calendar.
We wait for Christ in the Future – Waiting for Jesus to come in glory and majesty at the end of time. “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Luke 12:40)
We wait for Christ in the Present – When we share our needs with God, we eagerly and expectantly wait for him to come to us in our need, answering our prayers and filling us with his grace and love.
Waiting is hard. But waiting is a great teacher. It is recognizing that God’s time is not our time…ever!
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Waiting well is a virtue. It is not a question of if we will wait, but how we will wait. Waiting well is something to be learned. It is about trust, patience, hope, faith, and perseverance. Waiting develops our true character.
God often reveals himself in the wait. It is often in times of waiting that we see things we have not seen before. During times of waiting, as we slow down to reflect, often new insights and wisdom come to us. It is in the waiting that God often shows something about himself that we never would have seen before.
Have you ever experienced something while you were waiting that you would not have had you not paused? This summer my wife and I hiked near Mount Rainier in Washington. On a thin trail, we had to stop and move to the side to allow another group pass us. As we did, we turned around to see a view of the mountain that was so majestic it took our breath away. We only saw it because we waited.
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25
As you begin this new season of Advent, watch your wait. Be aware of your own impatience. Try practicing waiting. When you are at the store, get in the longest line. While you are on hold, pray for those who are waiting with needs far greater than your own.
When you are stuck in traffic anxious to get home, take a moment to thank God that you have a home to get to.
When you are waiting for your child who needs to watch the last two minutes of a T.V. show, (actually it will end up being at least five minutes), take a moment to pray for that child.
So as we get ready for Advent to begin, let’s all try to watch our wait!
But as for me, I will look to the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
By Pete Larson
Husband to Lynn, Father of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Executive Director of Family Fest Ministries