Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
Throughout the next four messages leading up to Christmas Day, I would like to shift our focus onto Advent—a word derived from the Latin Adventus, which means coming—that period of expectant waiting and preparation for the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as a babe in a manger . . . and the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as the conquering King. Most Bible-believing churches use the four Sundays and weeks leading up to Christmas to focus on the real meaning of the season.
Today we will sharpen our focus on waiting. As a child growing up, the hardest thing for me was waiting for Christmas Eve, when we would be allowed to open one of our Christmas presents under the tree. After we finished that family tradition, I had to endure the long night of counting sheep and waiting for the sun to come up to enjoy the day that I had I waited every day of the year to arrive.
Waiting today is just as difficult as it was for me as a child, for a variety of different reasons . . . my natural, sinful tendency to impatience being the primary one. And yet waiting is part of God’s perfect plan to mature each one of us and to grow us up in our Christian faith.
What have you been waiting for from God this year? The prophet Isaiah assures us that “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV). Isaiah is talking about the source of our power. When you picture the eagle in flight, you see that this magnificent creature is completely dependent upon the Lord, who has given it wings and the unseen currents of air on which it soars.
To wait upon the Lord is to live a life of dependence and trust in a power greater than our own, a power that will lift us up and give us strength and joy . . . and, yes, even patience! Waiting upon the Lord is trusting God even when we cannot trace Him. It is understanding that God’s will often requires waiting, because it is one of God’s great graces in our lives. And how are we to wait? We wait expectantly, hopefully, knowing that whatever we receive from the hand of our God is always what is best for us and it always does its best work in our lives when it comes to us in God’s perfect timing.
So as you are waiting to celebrate the birth of our Savior and waiting on God to answer your prayers as you confront life’s pressures, challenges, and difficulties, let the unseen currents of God’s Holy Spirit lift you up higher and higher—lift you up on wings like the eagle’s—knowing that your strength is being renewed by your Redeemer moment by moment and day by day.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!