Waiting. It’s a word that describes much of life – especially as a Christian. Children wait for big milestones, like a birthday or other fun event. Teens wait for the chance to get a driver’s license and graduate. Adults wait for jobs, vacations, and periods of rest. Ultimately, as believers, we wait for the consummation of Christ’s kingdom, where he will dwell with us in the New Creation.
From Genesis onward, Scripture is filled with waiting. Following the fall, Adam and Eve waited for the Seed that would crush the serpent’s head. Noah patiently built the ark and waited for God to deliver his family and the preserved animals through the floodwaters. The patriarchs waited for God to fulfill the promises he made to Abraham. Moses waited as he led his people out of Egypt and towards the Promised Land and then waited 40 years for his people to enter it. The history of the nation of Israel is one of waiting – from the waiting for a king to waiting for deliverance because of their sin. The prophets waited for judgment and deliverance, and also for the new covenant to come.
In church history, Advent is a season that waiting takes on special significance for the new covenant believer. During Advent, we look back to Christ’s first coming, remembering the prophecies and the events that led up to the birth of Jesus, but we also look forward to Christ’s second coming to fulfill the promises of Scripture. We eagerly await this day where all the wrongs will be set right and all the tears will be wiped away. This is what Christians celebrate at Christmas – not just the coming of God incarnate, but the dawning of the age to come with Christ as King. In this, we celebrate with the certain hope that he will accomplish all he has promised.
So we wait. As we begin this Advent season, we feel the reality of waiting more than ever because of our adoption. We still do not know what lies in store for us in this adoption. It is our desire to get a referral any day for two children and travel soon to bring them home. We often check our emails and messages to see if we have any news, and we struggle with anxious hearts as the days go by. Waiting is hard – sometimes extremely hard. Yet in waiting, we are reminded of the Sovereign One who knows our plight far better than we do, and he loves these children far more than we will ever be able to. Waiting for earthly blessings echoes some of the deepest longings of our hearts – for the world to be set right, and for God to dwell with his people forever. We are reminded of his promises that he will make all things new, and even now is orchestrating every molecule of the universe for the good of those who love him.
So we wait in confidence – not in the confidence that all our desires will be fulfilled on earth, but that God is good, and he is on his throne. He will accomplish all his purposes, and those purposes are ultimately for our good and for his glory.
Charles Wesley captures this spirit of Advent well:
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
We hope you have a blessed Advent season as you look forward to celebrating both the miracle of the incarnation and the promise of Christ’s return.
Markus & Sarah