Advent Devotion Series Week One
Weekly Reading: Genesis 12:1-3; Psalm 130:5-6; Isaiah 9:6-7
I am radically impatient. I don’t want to wait the thirty seconds for my coffee to reheat in the microwave nor do I want to wait for the Holy Spirit to grow me and change me. In my flesh, I like the instant gratification that comes with our current cultural climate. In America, we live in a society in which I can order something from Amazon Prime and see it show up at my door in less than twenty-four hours. If I’m seeking a piece of information, I can Google it on my smartphone and instantly be met with millions of hits. We don’t know how to wait well.
When I think of waiting, I remember the Israelites. The Israelites waited through slavery for God to free them, waited during their forty-year trek through the wilderness, and ultimately waited for the descendent of Abraham who would save them and be their king. While they did not always wait well, they withstood a long wait for what they had been promised.
Around c. 740 to 700 BCE, the prophet Isaiah spoke a prophetic word to the Jews. He shared with them that a king was coming from the line of King David to rescue the Israelites. This had been promised to the Israelites since God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12. “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 CSB). The prophecy spoke to the power of the coming king: He would control the government and bring peace to His people. Isaiah brought this message of hope over seven hundred years before the promise came to fruition. That means the world was met with more waiting.
I will not pretend to know the extent of why God has us wait in different seasons of life, but I know He is good. I know He can be trusted. We can wait well even when we can’t see the outcome, or the promise fulfilled.
How do we wait well? We shift our gaze. When we’re waiting for something, it is tempting to fix our eyes completely on what we are waiting for. If you’re waiting for a spouse, it is easy to allow the desire for a relationship captivate your thoughts. If you’re waiting for physical healing, your attention may be fixed on the diagnosis of the disease. If you’re waiting to get out of debt, you may become consumed with the status of your bank account. It is easy to allow our problems, needs, or desires dominate our minds.
When we shift our gaze from our earthly circumstances to God, we learn to wait well. We are no longer waiting for the outcome, the spouse, the physical healing, or the financial freedom, but we are consumed by the Spirit’s power. Our hope is in Christ rather than in what may or may not happen. We are met with love rather than impatience or anxiety. It is not wrong to have wants or needs, but our wants and needs can become idols when we worship them over our Savior.
He knows the desires of your heart, friend. He sees you and loves you and cares for you. If He does not give you the outcome you desire, it is not because He doesn’t care or because He is vengeful or cruel. It is because His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, and He does everything for our good and His glory.
In the waiting, press in. He wants to teach you to trust Him, to believe in His faithfulness and goodness, and to hope in the dark. His way, His timing, His methods are better. We have a Wonderful Counselor who shows up right on time, even if it may not be in the way we expect.
We praise You because You’re patient with us. You’re worthy of our attention and our gaze, and we ask You to help us keep our eyes on You. May we only worship You, God, because You are the only One worthy of worship. Teach us to wait well. Teach us to hope in You alone and not in our circumstances. We are grateful for Your forgiveness when we fall short and when we forget. We thank You for rescuing us and being our Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace. Grow our patience as we wait because we know You are faithful and good to do more than we can ask or imagine.
We love you.
In Jesus’ name,