What we do in the waiting matters.

What we do in the waiting matters.

What are you doing in the waiting? What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for? So often in life, we find ourselves waiting for success, for riches, for the “easy life,” but Jesus offers us so much more than that. He offers us everlasting life. He is “the light of the world.” When we follow Him, we “never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

Over Thanksgiving, my family visited Black Hammock. This place has been in my family for generations, and we love to gather there to celebrate holidays. Apparently, after I went to bed, there was a late-night truck ride through the woods that involved a spotlight searching the property for critters. Shockingly, with the extreme silence I’m sure the group held, they didn’t see any animals, and if the noise didn’t scare them, I’m sure that spotlight did.

Y’all, I need that kind of light or at least I want it. I want God to shine a light so bright on my path I can see far into the distance, so the waiting doesn’t seem so hard. I try to have faith, but when we can only see the next turn on our dirt road, it is easy to doubt.

Wait for it! This is the Advent theme at our church this year as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and this fall, as I have been studying Genesis, I see Abraham and Sarah waiting for another birth. And y’all, they waited a looong time and did their fair share of doubting. God promised Abraham a son and descendants—more than the stars in the sky, but Sarah and Abraham, like me, grew impatient. But wait for it! Here is the important part: while Abraham waited, he walked with God. He grew in his faith and learned to be obedient to God’s will. Sure Abraham questioned God and made some wrong turns, stepping off the path, but when God was ready, when it was the proper time, Sarah did have a baby. A baby that would turn into the Hebrew nation.

Waiting is such a common theme in the Bible. I think God must want us to learn from these people. We see how God works for His glory through their waiting, and maybe we can learn what we should do in the waiting.

Elizabeth and Zechariah waited for a baby for a looong time. Was God preparing them to be John the Baptist’s parents? It surely was an important job that God would not give to anyone. John prepared the way for Jesus, for our savior. What did his parents do in the waiting? Before the moment the angel announced that Elizabeth was pregnant, what kind of doubts do you think they had about having a child.
It was so unbelievable that Zechariah questioned the Angel of the Lord. “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.” (Luke 1:18). With utter rebuke, the Angel Gabriel responded: “I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

Let that be a warning to us. If the Angel of Lord shows up and reveals something miraculous, he knows what he’s talking about. And I love that last part Gabriel throws on for good measure—“at their proper time.” (Luke 1:19-20). God knows when the right time is and just because we are impatient and want things our way in our time, He has the best plans with the best timing.

I find Zechariah’s sentence of silence interesting. We can see how much he wants to communicate in the verses following the Angel’s visit. “When he came out [of the temple], he could not speak to the people. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.” (Luke 1:22).

Maybe the silence was to keep Zechariah from saying anything that would make Elizabeth worry or doubt. Maybe it was to give him time to listen to God without interrupting. There is certainly no doubt God had some things he needed to make sure the father of the man who would prepare the way for the Lord would understand.

Whatever Zechariah did during this time, his first glorious words are recorded as a song of praise. Listen to these beautiful and prophetic words.

“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79)

John knew God could do the impossible because his conception and birth were proof of it. If he’d been born to a young couple, it would not have appeared miraculous. John’s life was not easy, but his faith was great. He was the right man for the job, born at the exact right time, to the exact right parents. God is so good!

So, I ask again, “What are we doing in the waiting?”

Seeking God like Abraham? Reflecting and listening in silence like Zechariah? Living righteously like John? Waiting with bold expectation like Elizabeth?

It matters! Let’s faithfully live every moment for God, seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33-34)

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