What does it feel like to be in a season of waiting? Is there fear, dread, resignation or even apathy? There is a common thread here – they are waiting, yes, but while looking into an unknown future. Peering ahead, and imagining every scenario, especially the worst-case ones, compounds and complicates the waiting and seems to grow more legs than a spider. The result is misery.
There’s got to be a better way, a different way, to wait. I think there is – I’m calling it “holy anticipation.” This kind of waiting means that I am resting and trusting – it is waiting in a way that brings peace. How can this happen? It happens when the object of our trust, our place of rest, is the God who is holy also protects and comforts us … and loves us beyond measure. The anticipation comes in when we realize that the future is in His hands, and the knowledge that He hears us, and answers us, and that His plan for us is good.
When we choose to trust Him with our waiting, we are saying, “I believe You will do what you said You would do, and that everything You say is true.”
What has God said to us about waiting? If you’re so inclined, do a word study on “BE STILL,” and you will be astounded at how many times it appears in scripture. Clearly it is important!
What does He say to us about fear? Over and over, He says, “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” (Another fabulous word study!) Why? Because He is fighting for us while we stay still.
The heavy weight of anxieties we feel while we wait? To this Jesus says, “Cast all your cares on me.” Why? Because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Maybe you are tired, so tired of waiting. And wondering how you can possibly go on. Maybe your fear has passed over into resignation, apathy or hopelessness. What now?
In Isaiah 40, we find this:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives strength to the weary, And to the one who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB)
Note that He tells us a LOT about Himself in these verses, including that He never gets weary or tired, and that He sees and understands all. If we wait on Him, He will strengthen us. Sometimes He gives us enough strength to fly, sometimes to run, and sometimes to simply walk and not faint – when our own strength is exhausted He is there to share His. Where does the strength come from? THE WAITING.
This brings me back to where I started, waiting in holy anticipation. Believing that we serve a God who made us and has plans for us, trusting that what He says is true and genuinely looking forward to His good plan – this is how we are to wait.
So during this Christmas season, whether we’re impatiently waiting in that long line at the store, if the doctor surprises you with bad news, if you’re dreading that family get together, when those kiddos are melting down or taking too long, let’s back away from the anxiety, the impatience, the fear and the dread, and replace it with waiting that is instead the anticipation of what our loving Father will do for us.
Let us turn fully to him and embrace the waiting, knowing that He is shaping us as we wait. Let us refuse to look anxiously or impatiently around us, or forward in fear, and rest right now, this day, in holy anticipation.