Wait here…for your surprise.
Wait a moment while your table is specially prepared for you.
You are next on the waiting list…looks like you can take the class after all!
Can you feel the exciting undertone? The anticipation of something worthy of the wait. A surprise. A delicious dinner. Time spent with loved ones. A gift. A blessing.
It’s the essence of this season, is it not? The anticipation of something really good.
Severely sick and stuck at home, I opted for Christmas shopping online to expedite my to-do list and fill the long days. It would be two days before packages started arriving on my doorstep. I was eagerly impatient to feel the knit mermaid tail blanket I ordered my daughter. The anticipation of seeing a surprise gift for my husband would build until the order arrived on my doorstep days later.
The intangible is perhaps even more thrilling. We eagerly await the embrace of a loved one, a date night, a vacation, an adventure, our children’s opening night in the upcoming play.
There’s a crescendo of butterflies and elation as time advances onward. Waiting is JOYFUL.
Of course, try telling that to a child who is waiting until she is old enough for a smart phone or a father awaiting results from a biopsy. Waiting can feel like agony, too. For a trauma survivor, waiting can be its own form of torture.
Can we train ourselves to consider waiting in all its forms a blessing? All waiting can be joyful. Mindset is everything. Even in the midst of suffering, hardship and perseverance, we are reminded to “consider it all pure joy.” James 1:2
Waiting for life’s expected gifts is a gift in and of itself. Joyful waiting when the result is precarious requires a certain amount of self-discipline, mindfulness and a deep leaning upon the Lord. Both are oh-so-good.
Being ill with influenza reminded me of both the beauty and the pain of waiting. The beauty of knowing this virus is just temporary. I will not endlessly suffer. The emotional pain of being stuck in my house with a wild, stir-crazy toddler who was desperately tired of television. The beauty of television for such a time as this. The pain of not being able to shower her with kisses while having her so physically near.
Through it all, knowing my time is an offering. There’s little I can do. I can’t take back what I’ve lost or somehow wind it forward past my current state. In its present form, I wasn’t able to do much physically due to low energy. I could barely read or write as my eyes were watering and tired. Time is not something I can own or possess, manipulate or control.
What could I do? A whole lot of nothing. Rest. Stillness, in fact, is a great description. I was not sleeping, because that was also quite difficult.
So I sat, and I closed my eyes. I breathed, and I prayed. I was reminded that God is at work, He’s still and always at work. I asked Him to show me where and if and how He wants to involve me in His work. I surrendered to time in this moment and beyond. If only I was so lucky to lean on Him like this in my everyday!
What a perfect illustration for Advent. The weary world, tired from waiting generation after generation to hear from God-gone-quiet, had been long anticipating the Messiah. It must have felt incredibly lonely, desperate and heavy. I mean, 400 years! Can you even imagine?
I struggled with one week of stillness and anticipation for the next chapter in my journey.
In a way, waiting is the essence of who we are. If we cannot wait in faith, how can we walk in obedience, trust in truth, hear His voice or share His love?