Isaiah 4:2-6; Acts 11:1-18
When you hear the word “wait,” do you break out in a big smile? Probably not. Waiting in line, waiting on the next customer service representative, waiting on results from the medical test, waiting is difficult. Yet the Psalmist says, “Wait for the Lord.” (v. 14) Advent is a time of waiting, in many ways. But why wait for the Lord?
Perhaps the best reason for waiting is stated in the first verse of this Psalm: “The Lord is my light. . .” God is the best guide we have. When we go down unfamiliar paths we need a guide. Sometimes we need a guide when we are on familiar paths. Whatever path we chose, we need the light of God to guide us.
As the psalmist says in verse 11, we need God to “teach me thy way.” God lights our path by teaching us the best way to live life. The problem is that we don’t always know the lesson the Lord is teaching. In fact it may take us awhile. How often do we look back at an experience and say to ourselves,” Now I realize what I learned from that. I just didn’t see that at the time. But I am a wiser person as a result.”
Wait. Wait for the Lord. God can only teach us when we are ready; so we must wait. When we ask the Lord to help us, guide us, support us, we expect God to act very soon. Only God knows when we are ready. Waiting for God to respond to our sincere request calls for more patience than we think we have. But is there value in waiting? Perhaps God waits to give us time to prepare ourselves for the answer.
Advent is a season of waiting to remember the birth of the Christ Child. In the busyness of the season it can be difficult to take time to wait on the Lord. What light is God bringing to us this season? What is the Lord trying to teach us? It’s worth the wait.
LET US PRAY
God of immense patience, in the rush of the season teach me to wait for the light only you can give. Amen
Carolyn Blevins is a retired associate professor of religion and Baptist historian at Carson-Newman University. "During the season of Advent, I am looking forward to trying to be more patient with God and to being with family."