Waiting for God

And now, Lord, what do I wait for?  My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7).

“‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God.  ‘Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her’ . . . The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God . . . Behold the Lord God shall come with a strong hand . . . But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint”
(Isaiah 40: 1-3,10,31).

“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet [Isaiah], saying ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:22-23).
God, thank You that even during times of waiting Your plan for our lives does not fail.

How do you fair whilst waiting?  Are you impatient and passive, resigned to your ‘fate’ or are you hopeful and willing to participate in bringing forth what you are waiting for?

In God’s economy hope is a significant aspect in waiting.  Even though there are 400 years between the close of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah to the first words in the Gospel of Matthew, God is up to something.  Can you imagine waiting 400 years for anything?  (Well, I guess this is a bit of a stretch since most of us don’t live past 100 years, let alone 400).  But, be that as it may, let’s let the length of the wait sink into our minds.  As the nation of Israel is waiting for the Messiah to deliver them, especially from Roman oppression, God is acting.

Up to the moment Jesus is born in Bethlehem, the political landscape for the Jews is particularly disheartening.  They are waiting in hope for God to deliver them from their oppressive rulers: the Romans, even while they are attempting to carry on the practices of their ancestors.  It’s an uncomfortable time, to say the least, to practice their beliefs.  For the most part, the Romans are heartless rulers, imposing and constraining the Jews more and more.  However, they do not lose hope, nor walk away from the One true God who has been in covenant with them from the time of Noah and Abraham (refer back to last week’s First Thoughts).

It’s tempting to imagine that while the Israelites are waiting for the Messiah, they have turned their back on God. After all, it is often the case with us.  We become disgruntled.  We don’t think God is moving fast enough, at least according to our timetable, so we begin to bad-mouth Him, or try to circumvent His plans, or maybe just ignore Him altogether.  As I asked earlier, how do you respond to waiting?

The amazing thing about God in waiting is that even if the time line seems long, He is still God and He is still in control.  He is sovereign even in the waiting.  And often that is hard to swallow because we can’t understand what’s happening behind the scenes.  The 400 year Intertestamental period is an example of this in world history. Although the Jews did not know how long they would have to wait for the Messiah, they did not give up hope.  With God, as He reminds Abram and Sarah when they were trying to conceive a child, all things are possible — even when God seems dormant and circumstances appear next to impossible (Genesis 18:14).

We are fast approaching Christmas Day in this story, which means the time of waiting is nearly over. On December 25th we pause to celebrate God’s first coming into our world — Immanuel, God with us.  So, for the upcoming week spend time pondering the idea of waiting, not only for the things in your life yet to be fulfilled, but also for the spiritual implications of the arrival of the Messiah.  Why does God send His Son to earth?  What’s truly behind the arrival of the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes?’ Is there something personal for you and me, or is His arrival just another reason to make us feel warm and fuzzy for a couple of weeks each December?

He’s waiting for you . . . .

2011 © First Thoughts, M.V. Saunders
All rights reserved. Pittsburgh, PA

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2011 Winner of Christianity Today’s Award of Merit for Apologetics/Evangelism:
Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith, Francis S. Collins, Meg Saunders
Find it on: http://www.amazon.co.uk and http://www.amazon.com

2 thoughts on “Waiting for God

  1. Just a friendly fyi that some of us are not Catholic or Anglican…I am celebrating Eastern Orthodox lent and we do not have this Rose Sunday as you call it.


  2. Right you are. I’d never heard about it until Wednesday. It still seems like a good idea, though, to take stock somewhere vaguely related to the halfway point in Lent. Of course, you should be reflecting the whole time as well.


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