Have you ever wanted something badly but were told that you would have to wait? As a child, you may have wanted a puppy or a remote control car for Christmas. Maybe you couldn’t wait for a new doll or a beautiful dress. Remember being a teenager and awaiting your 16th birthday and the all-important driver’s license? At some point in our lives, we have all desired something that we think will be very good, but we don’t often get the object of our desire immediately—sometimes, we have to wait for it. Sometimes, these wishes are for something small and insignificant. Other times, they reflect the deepest desires of our hearts and what we value most.
When thinking about Advent and this season of waiting, I often ponder on what it was like in the Old Testament: to know the promises of God, and yet to be in a time of intense waiting. Waiting for the Messiah. Waiting for the promised king. A period of waiting that lasted thousands of years. We know that God promised a Savior many times in the Old Testament. For example, he made promises to Noah in Genesis 9: 1-17. If you take time to read the story of Noah (Genesis 6-8), you will remember God’s faithfulness and Noah’s trust and obedience. Noah was told to build an ark because a flood was coming, and he was obedient—even though it was not raining. Noah trusted God when he was told to enter the ark with his family and all of the animals. I can only imagine the dreadful rain and the deadly flooding, but then I realize that Noah knew everything familiar to him was being destroyed while he waited for God to keep his promises. Imagine Noah’s waiting and the uncertainty that he faced! I wonder if Noah felt anxious about his future. Yet, instead of letting waves of anxiousness overcome him, Noah chose trust and obedience.
There is anxiety and uncertainty in the world today. Loved ones may be struggling with illness and cancer. Relationships may be broken, and the future we had hoped for may be uncertain. Even though we work hard, the bills and debt continue to pile up. Our kids may be in trouble. We could be anxious for so many things.
The challenges facing the world are also overwhelming: famine, death, unemployment, and pollution. The troubles in this world seek to overcome and destroy us. We could feel hopeless.
But we have another option. We can choose to remember the story of Noah. We can remember the promises that God made in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those promises in the New Testament. We can proclaim God’s faithfulness as we wait in expectation. We can remember the truth of the Bible and know that “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).
Today we are participating in a time of waiting. We are waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ. How are you choosing to wait? Come, Lord Jesus, come!