Calling any large business has become quite a challenge these days, especially if you need something handled by call centers. I recently contacted a few businesses asking for help. The first thing I had to do each time was wait. As usual, some machine answered, asked me to answer a few questions by pressing a number, and then told me all available representatives were busy. One of them even had the nerve to tell me how long I should expect to wait... 55 minutes!
WAITING IS NOT FUN
Most people don’t like to wait. It is not much fun and often feels like we are wasting time. Waiting can also be emotionally difficult, because we are delaying something good (think of children and Christmas Day), or other times because we are fearful something bad is coming. On other occasions, we get anxious because of the sheer uncertainty of the wait. Whatever the case, waiting can be a challenge!
HOW TO WAIT
Scripture doesn’t teach us how to handle automatic answering devices, but it does suggest the attitude we should have when waiting. There are precious principles for waiting hidden in the stories of a few known characters who eagerly expected the coming of Messiah, the birth of Jesus.
Work while you wait. All Israel was waiting for Messiah, but as they did, they did not neglect their responsibilities. Take the shepherds, they were tending their flocks when the announcement came that Christ had been born. Like them, while we wait for God’s grace to manifest, we should “redeem the time,” keep at it, and do our work while we wait. (I actually managed to respond to a few emails while on “hold” during that long phone call).
Pray while you wait. The widow Anna was waiting for Messiah, and spent her time in the temple “fasting and praying.” Whatever we are waiting for, the best thing we can do is pray.
Watch while you wait. The wise Magi from the East were watching, learning, and growing in knowledge and understanding as they waited. That is how they were able to see the star — the sign they were waiting for. While we wait, we must continue learning and growing, for as we do, the answer we are waiting for may be revealed.
Believe while you wait. Simeon had been looking for Messiah, and was promised by God he would see him before he died. He waited with anticipation and expectation, because he believed God was faithful to answer. We must always wait with expectation, trusting in the faithfulness of God.
Waiting is never fun or easy, but when we wait with the right attitude, we can find meaning and fulfillment. Advent is the season of waiting. Like the characters of old, I invite you to wait for Christmas with great expectation, working, praying, watching, and believing. Let’s count the days to this year’s celebration and renew our expectation of the next time Messiah will come. Maranatha! May it be soon.
by Jimmy Aycock