Sunday morning, our grandson Carter was in the children’s choir at Zionsville Presbyterian Church (ZPC) where our daughter Kristin is on staff. Her particular area of responsibility is to create children’s curriculum and work with the younger children each week. Oh, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s the short version. Anyway, the kids were going to sing a number of songs and Janet and I decided to go and watch Carter. The kid’s part of the program was great; and since we usually don’t attend that church, I was curious about the series that is being preached this month.
So, after the children were finished, the songs had been sung, the offering collected and the lighting of the Advent candle had been accomplished, the interim pastor stepped up to deliver the message. Now this was interesting to me. Because the church is waiting for a Senior Pastor to be called. The founding pastor of the church has stepped down and the congregation is in a posture of waiting while resumes and interviews are being held.
Anyway, the title of the series is the title of this post – “Wait Training.” This day, the minister discussed the relative roles of Joseph and Mary while they were waiting for the birth of Jesus. But it didn’t end there. He also spoke about waiting for a new worship leader to start on January 3rd of the New Year; and the aforementioned calling of a Senior Pastor.
It occurred to me that we live in a world where waiting is not something that most of us are very good at. As kids, we can’t wait for Christmas because we want to open the presents. As we go through school, we can’t wait for summer to come; or for fall break. As adults, we can’t wait for our next raise, or next vacation, or for the new office we’ve been promised. In fact, we spend a great deal of our time wishing our lives away. Oh, I’m just as guilty as the next person. I’m anxious to get to a meeting with my friends, or to visit my mother and father-in-law in early January. I’m anxious to get Janet’s gifts for Christmas purchased and wrapped.
Many times I am waiting for God to answer my prayers – the way that I want them answered, I may add. So I guess you could say that I wait on the Lord – you know what I mean? Sometimes I don’t mind waiting too long if I get the answer I am looking for, but at other times, I want instant gratification. And when one prayer gets answered, it doesn’t take long for me to ask for something else. In business, and in our personal lives, we have cell phones, email and instant messaging because we can’t wait for “snail mail.” We order online because we don’t want to wait in line in stores.
I’m sure that you get the idea – I’m not so good at waiting and chances are, neither are you. As I sit here writing this, though, I find myself wanting to enjoy the experience rather than rushing through it. I want life to slow down – just a step or two. And perhaps one of my New Year’s resolutions should be to become more patient – learning to wait.
So waiting has a far deeper impact that Joseph and Mary waiting for the birth of Jesus. It colors the very fabric of our lives. The church message spoke to me in a way that I didn’t anticipate. I decided to consult the Bible and see what God has to say on the subject. Frankly, the Scriptures are full of places where people waited – many times for God Himself. Abraham waited for God to enter into a covenant with him – in Genesis 15. Noah waited for the waters of the Flood to recede. Many of the Israelite kings waited in the wings for their reigns to begin. Paul and other New Testament converts waited in prison for God to deliver them. After the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Christians waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit. And early Christian strongholds, such as Thessalonica, anxiously waited for the return of Christ.
Waiting isn’t a new concept. It’s just something we need to practice a little more – because we still aren’t too good at it. That’s the point of this season. The world was waiting for a Savior but the birth of Jesus was just a little different than what people expected. They wanted a knight in shining armor – someone to vanquish their enemies. But they had to wait a little longer. Because instead, God gave us a baby, somebody who had to grow and live among us before we could begin to understand the message He was trying to teach us.
That having been said, the verse for tonight comes from Psalms 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” No explanation really needed here. The verse says it all. My encouragement tonight is to stop wishing our lives away. Revel in the moment and enjoy the time that God has given us. Wait for Christmas; and the arrival of the celebration of the birth of Jesus. My prayer is that God will speak to you in special ways this season while we wait to celebrate the birth of His son. Learning to become patient is something that God wants for all of us. Let’s try to honor Him in this as we practice our “wait training.” Have a great day in the Lord…….