Finding Comfort in Waiting

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Finding Comfort in Waiting

By Chris Luper

In this time that we so often just refer to as the “Holiday Season,” it’s often hard to just wait. I see this struggle on a daily basis through my children. As exciting as Halloween (or as I prefer to call it – Disney Princess Day) is to my daughters, it’s the week leading up to Thanksgiving that really sends them into excitement overdrive. Perhaps it’s the fact that they don’t have to head off to pre-school for a week, coupled with the fact that Mommy (an elementary school teacher) is off for the week, but something sends their little minds into overdrive. Each day, I watch them wrestle with what at times seems to be overpowering anticipation for the days to come.

Let me also note that my wife and I are both guilty of helping perpetuate their excitement. The day after Thanksgiving our Christmas trees go up, garland is wrapped around the banister, lights are placed outside, and of course the stockings are hung with care.

In our day-to-day life and within our faith tradition we have been observing Advent, the season of expectant waiting and a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus. Each Sunday in church, we see the excitement level continue to build in our daughters. This concept of waiting, though, has taken on a completely different meaning within our community this year. Living in East Tennessee, just over thirty miles from Gatlinburg, we find ourselves in a season of waiting…waiting to see if friends and family were harmed in the wildfires, let alone if their property and businesses survived this natural disaster. Even now as most people are learning the fate of their property, we find our faith community in a season of waiting to see how we can help, what missional outreach we can provide.

The impact of these fires has affected everyone in our community, from the oldest down to the youngest. Students in the youth program watched as friends were evacuated— some rushed out so quickly that they were forced to even leave behind pets. Questions of why God lets such horrible things happen to people, coupled with feelings of resentment and anger abound, as our students wrestle with the devastation of this fire. Still, though, we wait, letting our faith guide us as we actively seek the ways we can best help our neighbors in Gatlinburg.

Obviously if you’re reading this, you have some connection to the 30 Hour Famine. Through this event, we’ve all experienced what it’s like to not have, to want, to need. Maybe some of you have actually experienced what it’s like to need beyond the realm of a weekend church activity. Whether you’ve just been down on your luck at times or you’ve gone through a community tragedy like that in Gatlinburg, it’s truly impossible to understand the devastation such events have on one’s life until you are forced to experience it first hand. If that’s still you, know that as I write this post I’m praying for you. I feel your pain, my heart breaks alongside you, and I pray that no matter your situation, you simply feel the love of God in your life.

Back to waiting though: our family eagerly anticipates the celebration of the birth of Christ. I challenge you for the next few days to patiently wait during this season of Advent. Our natural propensity is to rush headlong into the next moment, but during this holiday season, find comfort in the waiting. Christ the King is coming, so let us be thankful for the blessings in our life and find comfort in our faith for those things we don’t have.

“Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you – wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” (Luke 2:10-14, CEB)