I don’t like waiting.
There, I said it. I suspect that I’m not alone in my dislike of waiting. I get annoyed with lengthy TSA lines at the airport, with checkout lines at the mall, and with red lights when I am rushing around during the holiday season. Ironic isn’t it, considering that Advent is the season of waiting.
I used to think that waiting on God was like sitting in a waiting room, mindlessly and purposelessly thumbing through months-old copies of Us Weekly and Harper’s Bazaar. (And just in case you’re ever a contestant on Jeopardy! I recently discovered this tidbit of useless knowledge: doctor’s offices can get discounted magazine subscriptions for their waiting rooms from companies like EPSCO mags.) Waiting on God, I’ve since discovered, isn’t to be viewed as a detour from our life plans but rather an essential part of the plan. It’s not just about what we receive at the end of the wait, waiting if first and foremost about what we will become in the waiting. God can and does use the times of waiting to discover new things about ourselves and about Him in order that we might be better agents of restoration in this world.
I don’t like to wait. I struggle to wait well. How about you?
“Mary said, With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name.” Luke 1:46-49
God could have chosen a royal princess to be the mother of Jesus. He could have used a rich, influential man to be Jesus’ adoptive father. Instead, God chose a hardworking carpenter from a small town in Galilee and a young woman from humble circumstances to be the ones who gave birth to and raise the Messiah.
Take a moment to read the words of Mary again from the first chapter of Luke’s gospel. Can you sense both her wonder and confusion about what was happening to her? Don’t forget, it took an angel to explain the details to her and even then it was hard to believe! It took that same angel to convince Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful to him and become pregnant by another man. Both believed the angelic messengers, and God was pleased to begin his redemptive plan through them. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph to have God work in this way? Luke tells us that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
This Advent season, what are you pondering in your heart? What are some great things God has done for you? Make a mental list or write down some things that happened in your life that clearly indicate God is at work. Then remember as you look forward to the future how God uses the humble to accomplish his purposes, no matter what the circumstances. Follow Mary’s lead when she responded to the angel’s message, “I am the Lord’s servant…may your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).
David and Bathsheba
“One evening, David got up from his couch and was pacing back and forth on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone and inquired about the woman. The report came back: “Isn’t this Eliam’s daughter Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” – 2 Samuel 11:2-3
The Bible describes King David as a “man after God’s own heart,” yet when paired with Bathsheba in Matthew’s genealogy, one cannot help but zero in on his adultery. In his story, we see a man with a close relationship with God make a series of bad choices that greatly harmed himself and those around him. It began with David staying home during the time when kings were expected to be out with their armies defeating their enemies, then a look that led to adultery, an unwanted pregnancy, a cover-up that failed, a murder, and the death of his infant son.
Still, God was a work in David’s life and would keep his promise that his throne would be a forever throne and that the Messiah, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, would come through his lineage. Through the prophet Nathan, God made clear to David that he had sinned and David came to his senses, repented, and received God’s great mercy and forgiveness.
This story warns us that even those who are close to God can fall into Satan’s trap and find themselves mired in great sin. Perhaps today you find yourself trapped in a pattern of sin. Ask God to help you change. Agree with God that you have no ability to rescue yourself. Then humbly open your heart and receive God’s forgiveness. God fully forgave David when he repented, and he will do the same for you.