A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT by Linda and Phil Sommerville
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
A key component of the Advent season is waiting. It is a season of anticipation as we await Christmas day to celebrate the birth of Immanuel, God with us. It is a season of waiting on God to enter the hearts and lives of our loved ones and those we don’t even know. It is also a season to remember that we are waiting for the ultimate return of Jesus, the King of Kings.
Often, when in a season of waiting, we are waiting for a change to happen in our circumstances or in us personally. During this year of Covid, we’ve all experienced change and waiting in our daily lives. The changes Covid brought has made life feel chaotic and out of balance. So, we wait. We wait for a vaccine, wait to see and hug friends and family again, wait for life to change “back to normal.”
Waiting and change often go hand in hand. As things change, we wait to see how it’s going to turn out. We wait to see what it’s going to lead to. We seek to discern what God is up to, where he is leading and what he is preparing us for.
Think of a caterpillar in a cocoon. Changes are happening, but in the cocoon it’s all dark. Inside the cocoon the caterpillar must go through a waiting process, waiting for just the right moment to enter a new reality. And during the waiting, the caterpillar can’t imagine what it will be when it emerges.
Think of this year as a cocoon. We're waiting for Covid to be over, waiting for things to go “back” to normal. But what if God is using this time to do something new? What if God is preparing us for something we can’t imagine? What if we don’t go “back” but emerge as something new, no longer a caterpillar but a butterfly ready to soar?
Can God use Covid to do such a thing? Think about it for only a moment and you know the answer. Joseph was sold into slavery, betrayed and imprisoned. Moses lived in self-exile. David fled for his life and lived in caves while being hunted. Jesus went into the wilderness. Saul was blinded before he became the apostle Paul. Time and again we see that in change and waiting, even difficult change, GOD IS AT WORK!
Waiting can be painful, it can be uncomfortable. Waiting will stretch our patience to the limit and it will drive us to our knees in prayer. God uses the waiting. Waiting teaches us that we are not in control, that we must surrender our desire for control and instead trust in God in times of change.
There is a difference, though, between waiting around and waiting on God. Waiting around is a passive, “checked out” approach to getting through something. We are not engaged. We are not expectantly looking for signs of God’s appearing. We are just gritting our teeth trying to get through it.
Waiting on God involves intentional effort to connect with God in worship, Bible study, and prayer. Waiting on God involves:
- paying attention for the still, small voice of God
- recognizing the unexpected blessings in the midst of change
- noticing the opportunities to love a neighbor
Waiting on God also means recognizing how you are changing. If you notice you’re changing for the worse, turn to God in confession and ask him to transform your attitude, and help you notice your blessings. If you’re changing for the better, thank God and ask him how he wants you to use these changes to accomplish his plans for you.
Here are a few questions for you to reflect on in your waiting:
- What kind of change is God bringing into your life this Advent season?
- What about that change is challenging for you?
- How might God be using this change to direct and prepare you for the plans he has for you?
- In the midst of change, how might God be inviting you to more actively wait on him, rather than just waiting around?
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.