Our refrigerator died again this week. We saw the writing on the wall when it started making a clunking sound a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, up here in Vermont where it’s really cold in the Fall and Winter this is not a huge problem since we can just put our food out on our enclosed porch and it will stay cool.
Being that we are in a very rural area, probably the biggest pain of the whole ordeal is the waiting.
You call the warranty people and you wait on the phone. Then you wait to hear from the repair company to call and schedule an appointment. The appointment is usually a week or two out and rarely do they fix it the first time. By the end of the ordeal we are without a fridge sometimes more than four or five weeks.
For my way-too-impatient self, this is simply unacceptable.
Today’s western world does not do well with waiting. I do not do well with waiting.
In our era of modern conveniences–smartphones, refrigerators, microwaves, automobiles, email, Netflix and Amazon Prime–speed and efficiency reign.
Checkout lines give us heartburn.
Waiting is Good For Us
But God has built waiting into the very nature of things and our loving Father did this because waiting is good for us.
I see the gift of waiting in the coming of Spring in the n
Waiting draws out the sweetness of things easily taken for granted.
Gardening is a new hobby that my family has taken up since arriving in Vermont. Months of back-breaking work and preparation result in a delicious celebration come harvest time. Simply buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, while much easier, cuts out the joy and satisfaction of having raised your own delectables. Waiting on harvest is work, but it’s a precious gift.
Another blessing of waiting is the time of preparation it affords us. What if babies were born just moments after they were conceived? That sounds strange to us but God could have accelerated the gestation period if He so desired. But He chose to give us 40 weeks of time to prepare and to wait for the miracle of new life to be fully revealed.
God’s People Have Always Had to Wait
The natural world is not the only place we see the gift of waiting time, when we come to the Bible we find that so many of God’s good blessings come on the heels of waiting.
So frequent do we find blessing and waiting associated
Waiting was built into the blessings. It gave the people time to prepare, time to grow in trust, and time for their hearts to be emptied of other things to make room for the coming gift.
God was not to be caricatured as a giant Santa-Claus bestowing gifts upon people the moment they asked for them or wanted them. If the people of God were to truly grasp some of the
Advent is About Waiting
Because Christians have always recognized the importance of waiting and preparation, they intentionally built periods of waiting into the Christian calendar. This is a way of making room for this important piece of life that the world is so eager to get rid of. It slows us down, reorients us around God and gives us time to reflect, to prepare, to rest.
Advent is one of those seasons of waiting. When we come to Advent we remember the promise that Christ has come and will come again, but we also remember that we are not ready to jump headlong into celebration. First, we must prepare.
In the words of Tish Warren, Advent reminds us:
We live in liminal time, in the already and the not yet. Christ has come, and he will come again. We dwell in the meantime. We wait.Tish Harrison Warren, The Liturgy of the Ordinary, 104.
We wait for God to fulfill His promise again. In this liminal time, we ask God to enlarge our hearts and allow us to comprehend the tremendous gift that He has given us in Jesus. Waiting is a gift. Let us prepare. Let us be ready for the sweetness that has come and that is coming again.
My life is one of contradictions. I’m a southern boy living in northern New England; a boring guy married to super-fun girl; a conservative pastor in a progressive Christian denomination; a changed man in need of change; a sinner loved by a holy and perfect God.