When I first read this scripture, I immediately began laughing and knew it was a cruel joke on God’s part to teach me to be more patient. I am not a patient person; it is not in my nature. I am especially intolerant of inefficiency and incompetence. I do not wait well. It is uncanny how often I find myself behind the only customer in the grocery store who doesn’t own a debit card and who is still penning a check and searching for a driver’s license as I drum my fingers on the checkout counter and roll my eyes obnoxiously.
I have had a challenging year and have found that while my prayer life has never been stronger and my communication with God has never been more intense, his response time has often been slow and frustrating, at best. Waiting for the Lord, even with a hopeful heart, can be so complicated!
What I have come to learn, though, is that the longer I wait, the more I trust God and his insanely crazy timetable. Dr. Slatton used to talk about “kingdom moments.” You know, when for a short time, everything seems as it should be ALL the time. And yes—even in my grief and disappointment—I have sensed kingdom moments, and I have found genuine peace.
Advent is about waiting. Sometimes we must wait and wait and wait. And sometimes waiting means enduring enormous amounts of pain and desperation for long periods of time. I have a sign in my new house that reads, “Life Gets Better.” I believe it. But I now trust it gets better not because of my own efforts or labors, but because of the plan God has for my life as I wait impatiently.
A few Christmases ago I gave a good friend in this congregation a refrigerator magnet with these words. “In the end, everything will be OK. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.” Thanks be to God. Amen.