Advent Waiting: Waiting in God’s Grace

Advent WaitinginGod'sGrace

Advent is a season of waiting. We remember the world’s long wait for a Savior and we anticipate Jesus’ second return.

Often we focus more on the remembering part. Advent means setting up manger scenes, sending out Christmas cards with pictures of Baby Jesus, and singing carols about Christ’s birth. But let’s not forget to prepare for Jesus’ second coming.

The Story of the Ten Bridesmaids

Jesus told a story to encourage His disciples to be prepared and ready for His return.

The characters in the story are ten bridesmaids who are waiting for the bridegroom to take them to the wedding feast. It’s evening and they all have brought lamps to light their procession through the dark city streets. The bridegroom is delayed. All ten of the bridesmaids get drowsy and fall asleep. In the middle of the night, the bridegroom finally comes. His delay was so long that all of their lamps have gone out.

Five of the bridesmaids are prepared for this problem. They have brought extra oil. In a moment, their lamps are relit. The other bridesmaids are forced to go to the oil sellers and cannot go with the bridegroom. Later, when they arrive at the feast, they are not allowed in. (Matthew 25:1-13)

Through the story, Jesus reminds us all that we need to rely on the oil of His grace as we wait for His return.

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Waiting is Not a Waste of Time

When I put myself in the story, I think my reaction as one of the bridesmaids would have been, “What is taking this guy so long? Doesn’t he realize my time is important? I could be doing something significant. Instead, I’m just sitting here!”

But maybe, a wiser bridesmaid would have gently reminded me, “But waiting here is exactly what we are supposed to be doing. Waiting for the bridegroom is our role. It is an honor to be chosen as a member of the bridal party. When we get to the amazing feast the Bridegroom is preparing, we won’t even remember the agony of the wait. The love of the Bridegroom is worth waiting for.”

If you are in a waiting season–waiting for healing, waiting for a solution to a problem, waiting for an answer to prayer–remember that even when waiting seems like a waste of time, waiting is often our role as God’s chosen people. During that delay, the Holy Spirit teaches us patience, hope, and trust. 

When waiting seems like a waste of time, remember that during the delay, the Holy Spirit teaches us patience,… Click To Tweet

So while you are waiting–waiting for help, healing, and Christ’s return–wait in the strength of God’s grace. Don’t let your lamp go out. Find a fresh supply of the oil that fuels your faith in the means of grace: God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper.

Next step: Find encouragement in the words of Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Post those words somewhere you’ll notice them often today and when you read them, remember that waiting is the privilege of the chosen bridesmaid! 

If you would like to learn more about waiting well, check out my new book: Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust.

Waiting Cover002 - Copy (2)The book studies the lives of:

  • Sarah
  • Hannah
  • The Widow of Zarapheth
  • Esther
  • Anna
  • The Woman with a 12-year Hemorrhage
  • Martha
  • Ten Virgins

Through their examples, we find hope for the delays in our lives. We learn how to wait well.

Find the book on Amazon or CPH.org

Advent Waiting: Waiting Without Preconceptions

Advent WaitingwithoutPreconceptions

Advent is a season of waiting. A time of anticipation. A period of preparation.

For many in our culture, the preparation for Christmas is limited to planning get-togethers and buying gifts. Children anticipate opening those gifts. Everyone is waiting for holiday programs, plays, and parties.

But for believers in Christ, Advent also means waiting for His coming. It is a season of remembering the long wait of the world for the coming of a Savior and a time of anticipating His second return.

In Scripture, we read many stories of waiting. Sarah, Hannah, and Rachel were among the women who experienced long periods of delay before they were blessed with babies. Joseph waited years in a lonely prison. The Children of Israel waiting 400 years to be released from Egyptian slavery.

Anna’s Waiting Story

In the New Testament, we read another story of waiting. Anna was waiting for the Savior:

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)

This dedicated woman of God only gets three verses in the Bible, but her story gives us so much wisdom for our seasons of waiting.

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Even though Anna was “advanced in years” she was one of only two people who recognized that the infant son of two Galilean peasants was the Messiah. During Anna’s lifetime, most of the nation of Israel was waiting for a savior, but they were expecting one that would save them from the tyranny of Rome. A powerful political leader. Not a helpless baby.

Perhaps Anna recognized the infant as the Son of God because she didn’t have preconceived expectations. Instead, she was open to God’s ideas. She didn’t insist on her own vision or plan. She knew God often works in mysterious ways.

Waiting Without Expectations

God invites me to be like Anna when I’m in a waiting season. To let go of my own expectations. To stop insisting on my own way. 

When I let go of my preconceived, self-made plans that I am more able to recognize God design for my life. It’s then I’m able to wait with a bit more patience because I realize that the delay might be part of the plan.

Anna was waiting for the Savior. You, also, may be waiting for rescue. Rescue from a desperate financial situation or from an impossible-looking health crisis.

One thing you can do in this waiting period is to let go of your expectations and preconceived ideas about how God should answer your prayers. Reaffirm your trust in a loving Father who always knows best.

Let go of your preconceived ideas about how God should answer your prayers. Reaffirm trust in His plans. Click To Tweet

Next step: Write a prayer, giving God all of your self-made plans and preconceived ideas about what is best. Tell Him you trust His wisdom and His goodness. 

If you would like to learn more about waiting well, check out my new book: Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust.

Waiting Cover002 - Copy (2)The book studies the lives of:

  • Sarah
  • Hannah
  • The Widow of Zarapheth
  • Esther
  • Anna
  • The Woman with a 12-year Hemorrhage
  • Martha
  • Ten Virgins

Through their examples, we find hope for the delays in our lives. We learn how to wait well.

Find the book on Amazon or CPH.org