Monday, December 16, 2013

In honor of Christmas: Waiting with Joy

This is from a devotional I shared with my ladies at the Kiowa Ladies Bible Study before we moved.  Thought I'd share.

We wait for a lot of things.  Black Friday lines, Christmas presents, babies to be born.  We wait for food to be delivered, timers to go off, our name to be called at the doctor's office.  Sometimes waiting is easy.  Like if I have a good book while I'm waiting at the doctor's office.

Often though if waiting takes longer than we anticipated we become impatient or angry.  How many of you ever had to wait so long for your food to arrive at a restaurant you either left... or left a poor tip?  How many of you have ever gotten frustrated at a child or a husband for taking too long to get ready?

You see- while we wait for a lot of things- we rarely wait well.  It's usually annyoing, frustrating- a nuisance.  In an instant society we want less and less waiting.  Why?  Because deep down it's a waste of my time.

But you see- waiting is one of those things God asks us to do and to do often.  The Bible is full of examples of people who had to wait. Abraham waited for a son (and poorly if I might add!)  David waited to be King.  The Israelites waited for a deliverer to save them from their slavery in Egypt.  Jonah waited three days in the belly of a fish.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

It struck me one day as I was listening to a sermon with this passage that the Israelites were promised a Messiah around 700 years before Jesus actually arrived.  Talk about waiting a long time.  I have a hard time waiting for water to boil let alone waiting 700 years for the Messiah.  Is it any wonder than that the Israelites had lost hope and missed the Messiah altogether when He did come?

Why did God ask the Israelites to wait 700 years?  Why does He ask us to wait today?

The Messiah came at the right time.  According to God's perfect plan.  God asks us to wait so He can work His plan in our lives.

If God asks us to wait (which He does) then how should we do it?

As I see it we have two options.  We can wait well- or we can wait poorly.

Psalm 130:5 says, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope."

How do we wait well?  With HOPE.

We wait on God knowing He will bring something to pass according to His great purpose.

Luke 2:25-35 tells us the story of Simeon.  Simeon was an older man who had been "waiting for the consolation of Israel" (vs 25) for a long time.  Everyday he was seen in the temple waiting.  Day in and day out.  Waiting for the day when He would see the Messiah.  Why?  Because God had promised Simeon that Simeon would see the Messiah before he died.  

Simeon waited with Hope- believing and standing firm on God's promise to him.  He didn't give up just because it took him longer than expected.  Simeon is a great example to us of someone who waited well.

As we approach this holiday season- think about Simeon and how he waited with Hope.  God is asking you to wait too.  Maybe the waiting has to do with a job, a family member to return, or maybe just the pizza to be delivered.  Whatever it is- whatever situation you are facing right now.  Wait with Hope.  Place your Hope in the ONE who is faithful to answer prayers, deliver us from evil, and save us from sin.

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