By: Johnny Gall
Wait. The season of Advent could be summed up in this one word. We wait for the coming of Jesus and the fulfillment of God’s promise to shepherd God’s people and keep them safe in a frightening world. We wait in darkness for the coming of the light.
I do not like waiting. I am like most city-dwellers in this regard. It’s almost unavoidable when you spend at least two hours of every day either waiting on a train or a bus or waiting in traffic. Waiting to me means doing nothing. It means being powerless to move forward until someone else comes through.
I am uncomfortable with stillness and stagnation. I cannot handle losing momentum by having to stop moving and sit until someone or something else shows up.
I am bad at this in my spiritual life too. I want God’s promise of justice now and I do not want to stop moving until it comes and I can see that all is right in the world. I don’t want to stop moving.
And that’s unhealthy. I drive myself into the ground around twice a year because I feel like I can just keep pushing until the world is all better. And even though I know I don’t have the power to make that happen, I will keep pushing myself until I am completely broken and need to build myself up again.
The kind of waiting written about in this verse from 2 Peter is a middle ground between these two attitudes. God’s people are not standing and sighing until God’s righteousness comes like waiting at a bus stop. Neither are they driving themselves into the ground in a futile attempt to bring God’s world right this second.
They wait. In the meantime they focus on being at peace with God and being good people. They do not sit idly but neither do they refuse to take a break. They focus on the small ways they can bring God’s righteousness just a little bit closer to us and a little more present in the moment. They trust that God will come through and don’t feel the need to shoulder the burden on their own.
On this day in 1980, a man was shot dead outside his New York apartment. He was not a Christian, but he also dreamed of a world that was coming with no possessions, no greed, no hunger, no war, but a reign of peace in which “the world will live as one.”
Without knowing it, he was dreaming of the same world which people across centuries and millennia have waited for. This Advent, let us take up the same torch, waiting in the darkness, preparing for the light, but never burning ourselves out.
1. What is the world you are waiting for? What does it look like? How can you bring it a little closer?
2. What are some ways to take a break? How do we remind ourselves to trust in God’s coming?
3. What are some things you have a hard time waiting for? How do you remind yourself to be patient?