The Waiting Place.
I’ve been there, and I bet you have too. Sometimes I live there. Sometimes it’s a place I absolutely dread. Sometimes it’s a place I tolerate or I might even welcome it with hope. I think Dr. Seuss was on to something.
“The Waiting Place…for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.”
What am I waiting for?
And what happens when what I am waiting for doesn’t come to fruition or looks differently than I anticipated?
Disappointment? Disillusionment? Do I pitch a fit because I didn’t get my way? Am I frustrated because I’m forced to just sit on my thumbs and wait some more?
Or do I laugh, like Sarah. Sarah, who went 90 years without a child. Ninety years. And when she overhears God telling Abraham, “this time next year, Sarah, your wife, will have a son,” she laughs to herself. Oh, does she laugh. To which God responds, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
I bet Sarah rethought her response when “the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised,” and she had Isaac.
OK, Sarah waited, and even though she royally messed things up with Hagar and Ishmael trying to finagle a son on her own, she still waited, and she was blessed.
But what about Moses? All that trouble with the 10 plagues and “Let my people go” bit and splitting the Red Sea and receiving the Law on Mt. Sinai (twice, by the way). And then what happens? He wanders around the desert with his Hebrew counterparts, never to see the land flowing with milk and honey that was promised. Talk about waiting.
Or King David. King David who started out as a shepherd boy bearing the armor for the king, only to become God’s annointed himself. David, a warrior, who struck down ten thousands. David, who told God, “I will build you a house.” But David, who lost his way and never laid a hand to construct the temple.
Time and again in scripture the waiting is not for a short spell or even a season of life. It is a place to dwell. It might just take on a different shape. And more times than I might like to acknowledge, the “thing” they wait for never arrives or appears or when it does, it looks nothing like what they preconceived.
Take Jesus. The nation of Israel had been waiting generation upon generation for the coming Messiah. The Jews knew oppression and exile all too well. Under Roman rule decades before the birth of Christ, I’m guessing a baby in a manger wasn’t quite what they had in mind. And who are the first to hear of this Messiah whose kingdom will be upheld with “justice and righteousness from this time for and forevermore”? Forget Herod the Great, it was the shepherds who got the tip — the working class, the ones seriously lacking social and political clout.
Huh. The Messiah, the one mankind had desperately longed for came in a most unexpected way.
This Christmas season, I want to embrace The Waiting Place.
Instead of waiting to get my way, for my circumstances to change, to find x or earn y, I want to wait for His plans to unfold, not mine. I want to wait trusting that He is in ultimate control, and maybe like Moses, I don’t need to see the promised land. I want to wait in hope that He can work miracles. I want to wait in faith that what began in the manger and ended on the cross is sufficient. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. I want to wait in eagerness for His return.
What are you waiting for?