“Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.” Is. 30:18d
My one-year-old eats a waffle for breakfast every morning. Despite that I have never failed to feed him, he inevitably wails for the entire two minutes it takes to pop up from the toaster. I sing and dance, trying to distract him. I explain that the waffle needs to cook. Nothing helps; the waiting is too painful.
There will come a day when the wailing will stop. He will grow in patience enough to pass those moments in peace. He will trust that I, his mother, have good things in store for him, that I have reasons for taking my time, that the promised waffle will come.
It seems so silly, the intensity of his tears and the look of desperation on his face. It’s hard not to laugh; some days I do. But then I wonder, is this what God sees when he looks at us in our impatience? Do we wail and despair over something he’s already promised us, something that’s already brewing?
Human beings are not adept at waiting. Isaiah 30 is filled with God’s promises to Israel, beautiful promises:
“He will be gracious to you when you cry out/as soon as he hears he will answer you.”
“The Lord will give you the bread you need/and the water for which you thirst.”
“…with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher.”
The Psalmist reassures us that God will heal the brokenhearted and bind up our wounds (Ps 147).
Israel couldn’t wait. Instead of soaking in the goodness of God’s promises, they strayed off track. They pursued other gods and agonized over the wait for their promised savior.
Today, we aren’t much better. We have the benefit of knowing our savior, speaking to him daily, receiving him in the Eucharist, and still we have trouble believing that what he has promised will be. We long for eternity, but until God places it in our hands, it may as well not be coming. We bicker, we despair, we allow ourselves to become buried in the trivial. We don’t wait well.
Thankfully, Isaiah tells us, “Blessed are all who wait for the Lord,” (30:18d). Not just the patient or unwaveringly faithful. All. That’s good news for those of us whose hearts ache with the pain of waiting.
But – I have to ask myself – am I waiting for the Lord? How often do I hear the news and rue the state of the world? Do I not believe Jesus’s promise of his coming kingdom enough to maintain hope?
How often do I live as though my day-to-day, the concerns of this moment, are all there is? Is this still what my life would look like if I were really living for eternity?
This isn’t it. God isn’t done. Advent isn’t only about waiting for a savior who’s already been born; it’s our anticipation of the world that is to come. We’re still waiting – all of us pilgrims on our journey home. But we have a God of good promises, and a promised savior whose victory is already won. Despair is vanquished, and we are free to wait in hope and joy.
How would your life look differently if you were living for eternity?
This post was originally published as part of a daily series on the Christus Ministries Advent Blog.