How Long is Wait?: Week One of Advent [06DEC2013]
Readings: Psalm 16, 17, 22 ◊ Isaiah 29:24 ◊ Jude 1-16 ◊ Matt. 9:27-30 ◊
A thought came to me today as I was considering what it means to wait. Most of the week I’ve been thinking about the way that I should wait—maintaining a level of diligence and faithfulness while being attentive, watchful…alert. Today the question popped into my head; “How long?” How long is wait?
It occurred to me, that question might strike directly at the heart of my faith. I like to know what is expected of me. I like to know what my limits are. These parameters help me to be in control of me…and in some circumstances, knowing them helps me to be in control of my circumstances. At least that is what I tell myself.
How long? How long is wait? See, if I can pin a time frame onto the length of my wait, I might be able to determine if I am able… to wait successfully. Perhaps it is necessary for me to qualify and quantify what the reward is for my wait. This helps me to determine if the wait time and sacrifice it might entail is in proportion to what it is that I am waiting for. For instance, if I want to see a movie or concert and I arrive at the venue and see a long line ahead of me, I might determine the show isn’t worth the wait that it entails. There are of course, other examples, but the principle is similar. Somewhere in this thought about “wait” is a connection to the essence and the nurture of my faith. Naturally, this assumes my context and wait involves the return of Jesus as well as living into the present and future (to come) Kingdom of God.
Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“…According to your faith be it done to you.” Matthew 9:28-29
I think, regardless of what we believe we are waiting for, we must believe that Jesus is “able to do this.” His delivery of the promise on the other side of the wait will be done according to the faith we live out across the breadth of our wait. How long is wait? Wait may be as long as our faith needs it to be. I don’t think our faith is necessary for God, Jesus, to move or fulfill his promises. My faith won’t be the factor that determines whether God’s Kingdom comes in the full or not. It will come. My lack of faith will not prevent God’s Kingdom. No. My lack of faith will prevent me from participating and living in the eternal Kingdom of God. This is what I mean when I say God’s delivery of the promise is done according to the faith I live in the wait.
Our faith is God’s greatest gift to us. Our faith is also often the least acknowledged of gifts from God. Faith is also often the least used gift and it is also most often the most abused gift.
Mary felt the stirring of the life of God within her. The question that begs asking is this; “Do we feel the stirring of the work of God’s new life in the Holy Spirit within us?” If yes, then…are we faithful to carefully nurture this wonderful and blessed gift to full maturity? How long is wait? Maybe the question to us is “How long are we willing to wait?”
When I endure, in the darkness of faith, the prolonged wait for the God who comes, he has already come to me and is embracing me silently, with the same embrace with which I, in faith, embrace him.” –From the God Who Comes by Carlo Carretto
Faith determines the attitude of my wait, no matter how long the wait is and no matter if I “see” what I’m waiting for during the span of my wait. The promise endures no matter if it is realized—the promise endures.
How long is wait? Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
A Psalm Prayer:
I said to my LORD, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. -Psalm 16:1-11
I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born. -Psalm 22:10
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be—world without end. Amen. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus, Come.