Scripture Reading: PSALM 62
Wait. Wait in silence. Wait patiently. Wait in hope. Rarely, if ever, do we want the answer to be “wait.” Rarely do we wait without engaging in distractions to help the time pass. We stand in line and immediately, most of us look to our cell phones to read the headlines or check our email or play a game. We multitask. We toggle from one website to another. Waiting makes us anxious. Seeing buffering on the livestream causes irritation. An image of someone frozen on Zoom annoys us. Technology trains us to expect everything to happen instantly, seamlessly, until it doesn’t and then we get unduly angry. I always knew in my household the moment the internet went down because my teenage children would emerge from their room like whack-amoles in an arcade game.
What is it about waiting that is so difficult for us? Did generations before us tolerate waiting better or is our impatience just more evident these days?
Of course, there are seasons of waiting that warrant our fear and unease. Waiting for a medical test result. Waiting for a loved one to come out of surgery. Waiting for a job offer to come when we are desperate for employment. Waiting for a family member to return safely from military deployment. Waiting for a storm to pass. We know this kind of anxious waiting, too.
But what are we waiting for this Advent and how do our Advent hopes meet our current fears and real worries? The psalmist writes: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from the Lord comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” This liturgical season is a pregnant kind of waiting — marked by expectation of new birth and new life that brings change, a transition that alters our priorities and schedules and reveals that some of what we have previously valued does not really matter anymore. We are waiting for God, not in vain, but in certain hope that with the birth of Jesus salvation for all creation comes and reorders our world and our lives. However, we may need to wait in silence in order to quiet our minds, discern God’s near presence, and trust that God is with us in all of our waiting, all of our worrying, all of our distractions, anxieties and fears.
Prayer: Lord, you are our rock and our salvation, our refuge and strength, our hope and breath. As we wait with anticipation and anxiety, with patience and with eagerness, even with irritation and fear, silence in us any voice but yours. Grant us confidence in your promises to never abandon us and certainty in your power to bring light and life, love and grace, to all places and all people. Amen.
- Jill Duffield © 2020 Presbyterian Outlook