By Lee Weems
The typical scenario at the Malls for many families is to stand in the long line with children and/or grandchildren. There each person waits, seemingly forever, for a child to sit on the lap of a white-bearded Santa. Then, in a deep voice, Santa asks THE question, “What do you want this Christmas?” After hearing a quick response from the child, someone else takes a memorable photo and the child exits so the next child can have a seat, answer THE question, and then move on.
Paul the Apostle penned the book of Romans and in today’s scripture, he addresses the idea of being a child and living with hope. How do we recognize our relationship with God and patiently await our future? Hoping and waiting for some of us includes high wishes and low patience. To develop a longer patience defines the journey of one’s Christian faith.
In reading this passage, Paul reminds me of the inheritance of being a child of God and trusting in Jesus Christ. To be mindful, that one is a Child of God is humbling and exhilarating for me. And I don’t have to wait in line or talk to a stranger in costume. I just remember that I am always in the presence of a loving and relational God no matter the season or situation. There is no better gift.
By Bettie Reddick
Psalms 62:1-2, 5-7
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
David’s Psalm is also my Psalm
My soul waits in silence
My soul is the image of God, the God spark that was breathed into me when I was created
The God part of me that can see the God part in myself, in others, and all creation
The overwhelming consciousness of God
Inner resonance happens here
My soul waits in silence
In silence, God speaks and I can hear
In silence, I experience the presence of God, the breath of God, the spirit of God
As Rob Bell has said,
Some ancient Rabbis believed that the name of God is simply unpronounceable because the letters together are essentially the sound of breathing. Yod, Heh; Vav, Heh. The name of God is the sound of breathing. From the first breath I take to the last breath I take, I am breathing the name of God. Breathe in, Yod Heh, breathe out, Vav Heh. I am saying the name of God with every breath I take.
And when I am silent, I am still saying God’s name. When I get to that open space of mind and heart there is:
a mighty rock
That is who God is. That is just God being God.
And when that overwhelming consciousness of God, Yod Heh, Vav Heh, is present…… then, I will not be shaken.
My soul waits in silence for God alone
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I
Be still and know
By Rubye Box
But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
There is a reason for everything including waiting. Here is an example about today’s verse that I have experienced. Sitting in a restaurant, I gave my order to the waitress and then waited for my meal. I watched others come in, order and get their food while I sat there waiting for mine to arrive. Needless to say, I was getting somewhat frustrated. Why did I have to wait when others were getting their food right away? When the waitress brought my food, I had to ask why it took so long to prepare my order. She explained that the sauce that goes with my meal is prepared special by the chef. He can’t rush it and cannot make it ahead of time. It is custom made just for my order.
This is a reflection of our prayer life. We make requests of God. Our menu is His Word where He gave us His promises, explained the costs and assures us He will give us the desires of our heart. But if God doesn’t answer immediately or within our timeframe, we become impatient. “Lord, I prayed yesterday, and You still haven’t answered. I can’t wait much longer. Why is it taking so long?”
Others around us are seeing their prayers answered – God is moving in their lives. Yet, it appears that we’ve been overlooked or neglected. Then just when you think things are about to work out and your prayer has been answered, He pulls back the royal curtain of eternity and tells us, “Please remain seated and wait a while longer – I’m not finished yet!”
The questions pour from my heart. Do you know why the Lord has put you on the side? Do you know why you have had to wait for this blessing? Do you know why He has put you through more this time than ever before? Do you know why it seems as though He has not heard you and He does not care? Then you hear the small still voice, “Because the answer is custom made for you and since you made a request, and He only gives good and perfect things, it will come in His time and not yours. Custom made answers from God take time because they are prepared in a way that is perfect for us.” How many people have missed their blessings because they did not wait? Have patience. Keep on waiting. You made a request, now wait on God’s answer. He knows the need and He has the answer.
Father, forgive me for my impatience! So often I ask things of you and because of my anxiousness, I become frustrated and begin to doubt. Show me where my lack of trust in You has often cost me a special blessing from You. Help me to remember that all things are done in Your time. Amen
By Mike Elliot
I think that one of the most powerful verses in Psalm 27 is verse 14. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Often in my life I can get impatient. I have all these plans for college, finances, friends, and family. Several times these plans don’t go quite how I envisioned. All the distractions of life tend to just get in the way.
Whenever that happens I try to do my best to keep positive, but every once in a while it feels like the world is out to get me. It’s almost as if the enemies of the Lord are doing their best to try and tear me down. During these times I need to remember that the Lord is my light and salvation! There is not a thing in this universe that is more powerful than my God.
When I read this Psalm, I immediately think back to the anthem I performed with YouthCUE that was based on this scripture. While having this song stuck in my head I started pondering what might have been going through David’s mind while he wrote this song. What kind of crisis was he facing to come up with the words in verses two and three. He mentions enemies, foes, and an enemy army. What is even more amazing to me is that in verse four he doesn’t ask for his enemies to be defeated. He asks that he may dwell in the House of the Lord for his whole life, and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.
Compared to the challenges David faced, I have had it pretty easy. I want to be like him and instead of worrying about the challenges that I am facing, focus on God and continue to seek Him every single day. If I continue to seek Him, and wait patiently for Him, I won’t need to worry about all the plans that I have for myself, but I can be quiet and listen to the plans that He has for me instead. He provides the perfect plan that I could never come up with myself. Now it’s up to me to follow it and trust in Him.
By Edgar Twedt
Psalm 62:1‐2, 5‐7
1. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
2. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
5. For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
6. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
These beautiful verses are packed with hints of Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. One way to look at them is to see verses 1, 2, and 5, 6 as book ends within which we can begin to imagine and image Advent. And then one can see verse seven as the foundation stone on which the two bookends rest, and between these bookends rests the focus of the season of Advent. In the Hebrew text these two pairs of verses are virtually identical, with just a tiny bit of variation. One sees these slight variations in the second line of each verse when one compares verse one with verse five and verse two with verse six. It’s as if the author, in using rather typical Hebrew poetry, wants to do just a little more than repeat for emphasis. The author wants to add words (ideas) for even greater emphasis. Thus we learn a variety of things about the God whom we look for in this season of Advent. First of all we learn that in this Advent time of waiting, our soul is to wait for God alone and to wait for God in silence. Then we learn that from God comes our salvation (1) and hope (3). And we learn that God is our rock (2, 6), our salvation (2, 6) and our fortress (2, 6). Finally we learn that from all of this we shall NOT (6) be shaken. And, as if this isn’t enough, we learn that we shall NEVER (2) be shaken. Verse seven tops it all off by reminding us again that the foundation which underlies Advent, as well as all other seasons of the church, is the promise that God is our deliverance, our honor, our mighty rock and our refuge. Could we surround Advent with any more powerful or reassuring verses of Scripture? I think not, for the promise is finally the promise of God’s Self.
By Garrett Vickrey
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Child development experts say the best way to raise “successful” and “well-adjusted” children is to teach delayed gratification. Of course, this flies in the face of everything else we experience on a daily basis where no gratification is ever delayed. Just try teaching a three year old that if she cleans her room then she can have chocolate.
Still, what we are trying to do when we teach delayed gratification is to instill the virtue of hope. We practice hope through self-discipline that teaches us the value of this essential to abundant life. The reason we all need to learn delayed gratification is so that we can flex our “hope” muscles in times of difficulty. At times we need to hold out and hang on through uncertainty. We need hope to be able to trust that things will get better.
This is essentially the idea behind this season, isn’t it? We teach children to wait for Christmas. They see the presents under the tree. They know there is something there for them. But, they have to wait. And in that waiting there is hoping. And the hope grows stronger in the waiting.
There are no better verses to read on this day ― the first Sunday of Advent― than words from Isaiah 40. This is the Sunday we light the candle of hope. Richard Rohr describes hope as, “The patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves.”
The mistake we make this time of year is in thinking that Christmas is just for children; or that we must return to some childlike faith. What the world needs is not more immature faith. The world needs your faith grown up.
This is the task of Advent: to wait in patience and trust in order to flex our hope muscles. So that we might prepare ourselves to receive the Christ who comes to us. In the wilderness prepare a way. In your life, clear a path. Find emptiness so there is a place to be filled by the one who comes at Christmas. Don’t rush to resolution or closure. Quick fixes and easy answers are spiritual blindness. Hold out for hope. The hope that the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. May you know that glory this year as we all work on that “delayed gratification” that stretches our hope and awaits the resolution of which we catch the slightest hint when we sing, “Joy to the World.”