Waiting is a normal part of life. In checkout lines and traffic lanes; at restaurants or service centers. Waiting for your garden to grow, your children to mature, your romances to blossom. Pregnancy is a time of waiting. Wounds heal, wine ages and soups simmer.
Approaching your later years, though, the waiting takes on a different cast. It cuts deeper into your identity, lasts longer and captures larger portions of your imagination. Anguish and sorrow can accompany some of the waiting: Intolerable lifestyle conditions—pain, poverty, loneliness—don’t disappear. The usual answers don’t easily satisfy persistent questions. Impossible changes remain impossible. The stubborn stains of your sins resist scrubbing. Your hopes and yearnings can remain frozen in unrealized expectations. Toward the very end of your life, your dying may stretch into a long, lingering departure.
In your younger years, waiting helped build your character; it enhanced your ability to delay gratification and thus to lay claim to wisdom. Over the years, though, your patience may have thinned, and you may be tired of hanging on. Even though you’re not ready to give up, never-ending expectations can grate at your spirit. “It will never happen” may have become your repeated response in the litany of your waiting.
In the cosmic scheme of things, waiting has always characterized God’s people. “How long, oh Lord?” has been the refrain for centuries. And as patient as you try to be, the heaviness of waiting has not always been balanced by your load-lifting hope of God’s deliverance. Perhaps in Advent’s quiet moments, it can seem as though you’re at the end of your waiting ropes, that all these years of waiting are getting old: “Come quickly,” you plead.
God’s response comes from the people around you, the other Waiting Ones:
We’ll wait here with you…..
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