Wednesday, December 1

Morning: Psalm 119:1-24; Evening: Psalm 12, 13, 14
Isa. 2:1-11; 1 Thess. 2:13-20; Luke 20:19-26

Last spring, as I prepared for my trip to St. Paul’s Diocese in Butare, Rwanda, the Lord revealed to me—through His Word and through two beloved mentors—that I was entering a season of waiting.

Very early in this process, the Lord gave me several “waiting” verses: Psalm 40:1 (NAS), “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry,” and Psalm 62: 1 (NAS), “My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.” I continue to read these verses daily and cling to the hope I find there.

The phrase “waiting on God” is packed full of meaning. With more than one hundred verses in the Bible about waiting, there is no question that, as long as we draw breath, we will be called to wait. It’s just a matter of how we’ll wait, and when.

The dictionary ascribes several meanings to the verb “to wait.” The most common is “to stay in place in expectation of.” Another is “to remain ready and look forward expectantly.” And, finally, “to be ready and available.”

Young Mary is a role model for waiting. She certainly was ready and available. Her response to Gabriel’s message that she would bear the long-awaited Messiah? “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38, NAS)

We don’t know much about Mary’s waiting, other than, much like our own, it was mingled with joy and sorrow. The Bible tells us “she went in haste” (v. 39) to visit her cousin Elizabeth and stayed there three months. Her beautiful Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55) is her heart’s song—the reflection of a fully submissive and expectant spirit. What a sweet time of fellowship these two women must have shared! Mary did not wait alone, and neither do we.  As members of the Body of Christ, we wait in community, even when it is difficult to do so.

In addition to the joy she experienced, Mary’s waiting was also fraught with pain. “And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.” (Matt. 1:19) Imagine the heartache and rejection Mary felt. Did Joseph brood? Did he stop asking about her day? Did he put in extra hours at the carpenter shop to avoid emotional intimacy with his betrothed?

After Jesus is born, the Bible tells us that Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) Mary’s nine-month wait was finally over. But now the real waiting would begin—a season of waiting that would eventually lead to the magnificent horror of the Cross.

As believers, we often find ourselves saying, “I’m waiting on the Lord” to show me this or that. But “waiting on” can also be defined in the context of a servant attending to the wants and needs of another.

What does God want from us? He wants our heart and soul, completely surrendered. Is your waiting soul “magnifying the Lord”? Like Mary, we can wait with joy and expectation, despite our circumstances, because we know the One who has called us to wait, and He can be trusted.

It is often in “waiting on” the Lord—serving Him with gladness and singleness of heart—that we discover exactly what it is we were waiting for. Waiting is not a passive, passing-the-time process. It’s a time to be actively engaged in pursuing deeper intimacy with Christ. And that, without a doubt, is certainly worth the wait.

-Laura Watts

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Filed under Advent, Bible, Discipleship, Prayer, Saints, Worship

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