By Maureen Kalbus
Sheltering at home, I am very aware that I have spent these past ten months in suspended animation…waiting, and the need to stay patient and hopeful. Perhaps the greatest test of patience, was waiting for test results and surgery. In such a caring, supportive community as ours, being surrounded by prayers was a blessing, and clear results, a God send. We all have been caught up in an indefinite waiting game, as the Coronavirus has taken hold and resurged, and scientists, worldwide, have been working to create a safe, effective vaccine. While wildfires blazed, we waited while national and international firefighters fought to quelch them. Politically, we waited for the Election, and, although a brighter, more positive future is on the horizon, we are being forced to wait and watch unethical, unfounded antics in the White House rage on. The positive aspect of this waiting time has been the support that countries around the world are giving each other. God is at work in our waiting; there is a purpose to all of it.
All our lives, we spend a lot of time waiting: to be born; to take each milestone in development; to attend school/college; to hear exam and interview results; to be promoted; to find a possible soulmate; for the next season in life. Daily, we wait for news, a response, while standing in line, for the end of a story/program/series, and through the year, for birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, trips…. Psychologists report that we have become less patient as we wait. Proof of that is the frequency of commercials interrupting a show; programs are fragmented more often because our art of listening and waiting is diminishing. Speakers are advised to keep their messages succinct or the point will be missed as audiences tune out. Individuals walk around with telephones glued to their ears, afraid they will miss a message, and then instantly fire back a response. Attention spans are shriveling.
How often are you interrupted mid-sentence? Do people finish your sentences? Do you try to do more than one thing at a time? When on the telephone, can you hear the person at the end of the line clattering dishes or moving around, while talking to you?
While on the freeway, we have seen people applying make -up, combing their hair, shaving, reading, as well as texting while driving. The art of waiting, listening and staying in the moment is waning, if we let it. The greatest compliment /gift you can give anyone, is to focus totally on him/her, listening intently. Teaching children to wait and not have everything immediately, enables them to develop and mature.
We can learn from people in the Bible who waited, and found it worthwhile: Abraham “Then Abraham waited patiently and he received what God had promised.” Gen. 50 v 26
Sarah waited a long time to bear a child. Gen. 21
Joseph waited in prison for a purpose. Gen. 39
Moses, Caleb and Joshua waited in the Wilderness, in the hope of God’s Promise. Num. 14 v 34
Job waited through suffering. Job 2
David waited to be king at the appointed time. Isa. 16 v 12-13
Jesus waited to begin His ministry. Luke 3 v 21-25
The Wise men waited, watching the skies for a star to lead them to the Messiah Matt. 2 v 1-12
God keeps His promises. “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord is not slow with His promise…but is patient with you.” 2 Pet. 3 v 8-9
“Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.” Isa. 41 v 31 “I wait for the Lord, soul waits, and in His word I hope.” Psalm 130 v 5
As we move into Advent, we wait in anticipation of Christmas. While waiting, we decorate our homes, inside and out, with Christmas trees, poinsettias, baubles, bows, ornaments, candles…This year homes are being decorated earlier, around the world. We yearn for light in our lives. Last weekend, Ralph and I chose our Douglas Fir, transporting it home to grace a corner in our Family Room. Aglow with colored lights, and ornaments gathered over the decades, it shelters a village huddled on mounds of “snow.” A lighted deer stands majestically among the succulents in the front garden, and icicle lights drip from the eaves. As they were being put in place, a passing car stopped, children inside cheered, and the driver said “Thank you.” The magic of Christmas is infectious! Our Christmas cards are written and in the mail. We are counting down the days to Christmas with the help of our Advent calendar. Excitement builds as we anticipate the Nativity. “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.” Hymn # 82
“Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord; be strong; take heart!” Hymn # 90 [Psalm 87]
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Joyce Meyer
“Arguably, one of the most difficult concepts in life for us to grasp is the art of waiting patiently.” M.Hale
“If” by Rudyard Kipling “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting, or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, and yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…
If you can walk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, and – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
During Advent, as lights spring up around us “ May the Blessing of light be on you, light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come
and warm himself at it, and also a friend.”
Warm wishes as you wait, productively planning and working towards the miracle of Christmas,