I am thinking about waiting today. It is meant to be such a big part of Advent – intentionally enter into waiting for the coming Messiah. We identify with the people who first waited and received His coming. We pay attention to the fact that we are now in the Advent of Christ’s second and final coming.
I’m sure you would agree that living in the middle of COVID is quite conducive to waiting. We all long for it to be over. We long for our former freedoms and lives. We wait – often feeling like we wait with bated breath.
There was a time in history when the Israelites were captured and taken away from their lives into Babylon. They mourned there. Nothing was as it was. They must have felt quite immobilized. This is what can happen in waiting – we get stuck, finding ourselves in a kind of limbo, waiting for the rescue. Subconsciously, we can think that we will just “hang in there” until its over. Then we will live again!
While the Israelites were in this state of mourning and immobilization, a prophet named Jeremiah helped them with a message on what to do while waiting.
Jeremiah 29:1-5; 10-15
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
You and I are waiting – waiting for this terrible time to end and the suffering to be over. In the middle of this, we remember we wait for the coming Messiah, who will make all things new and right. We need these words from Jeremiah again. An exhortation to live – to actually live in the midst of this time. We need to pray and to be the people of hope we have been called to be – people who know a better day is coming! People who can access Christ’s peace in the waiting.
Repair your shoes to take you out into the world again. Let’s worship God by living and bringing hope to the people around us. Where do you live? Is there someone in your apartment building or on your street that could use some help with the waiting? What simple thing can you show up with to communicate that we are waiting together and we are not alone on the journey? Before you go, read God’s words through Jeremiah, especially the part about His plans for us and His strong invitation to seek His face in this time. Then take your hope and help someone else live while they wait.
Photo by Maegan Ranson - Unsplashed