“They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).
Waiting is not easy.
Sometimes it’s the hardest part of life.
Waiting for your grades.
Waiting to hear from the doctor.
Waiting for your son to come back to the Lord.
Waiting is perhaps the hardest discipline of the Christian life. Think about a wife waiting for her wayward husband to come home, parents waiting for word from their son serving in Iraq, or a cancer patient waiting for the results of the latest test. Waiting in a hospital is like no other waiting in the world. Minutes become hours and hours become days. You sit and stare and idly read a magazine you don't care about and can't concentrate on. You wander down to the cafeteria to eat food you can't taste and listen to conversations you don't care about. You wait for what seems like an hour only to find out five minutes have passed since the last time you checked the clock. Such is life for all of us. Days and months and years blur together, and then suddenly time lows to a crawl and almost seems to stop.
Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that God has a redemptive purpose in the down times of life. He wants to teach us to wait for him.
We are not waiting for something.
We are waiting for someone.
Waiting does not mean doing nothing. Waiting for the Lord means, "I know God is at work in this situation even though I cannot see it at the moment. I will not let this overwhelm me because being overwhelmed will not solve the problem anyway. By God's grace I will do the next thing that needs to be done, trusting that God is at work behind the scenes."
That little step forward is a step of faith. While you wait, you do what needs to be done because you believe God is at work in the midst of the crisis.
For centuries the Jews waited for the Messiah to come. These early days of Advent remind us that though it may take a long time, God always keeps his promises.
What are you waiting for today? Do not despair if the answer is slow in coming. Bethlehem proves the faithfulness of God. He answers our fears with a baby wrapped in rags.
They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. This is the promise of God.
Lord God, grant me gritty faith that will cling to your promises even when I feel like giving up. Amen.
Musical bonus: Carrie Underwood and Michael W. Smith team up to produce a powerful Christmas song called All Is Well.
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