The Waiting


By Brian Mateer

Tom Petty sang it in his 1981 hit song, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

I do not wait well.  I hate to wait in traffic during rush hour, I seek opportunities to avoid waiting in any line and when my kids move at a sloth’s pace and I have to wait on them it is maddening.  A quick way to ruin my attitude is if I need to call customer service for a satellite TV issue and am put on hold to “wait for the next available customer service representative.”  I’m so bad about waiting, I won’t ask God to help me wait more patiently, for fear I’ll be given more opportunities practice waiting.

Yet sometimes we are forced to wait.

Businesses profit billions of dollars in seeking ways for people to wait less.  Same-day delivery of items ordered online, apps that find the shortest route to cut down on drive time, self-checkout grocery store lines and TSA pre-check to cut down airport security wait time.  All these technological advances help us wait less, yet the time we save is filled with something else.  Rush. Wait. Repeat.

The holidays seem to be a particularly tough time for waiting as Christmas decorations appear in stores in October, Black Friday has encroached on Thanksgiving and children agonize waiting to get out of school for winter break and to open presents on Christmas morning.  My home town even has a Christmas parade in November.

One of the gifts the church gives to the world is to help it wait.  The time between the Hebrew and Christian Testaments was approximately 400 years.  During this time God was silent as the Israelites waited expectantly for the Messiah.  Thus the season of Advent.  The time of joy and hope in anticipation of the coming of Christ.

I believe waiting is a spiritual discipline and God speaks to us during the seasons of waiting.  As we speed towards Christmas, let’s make space in our lives, families and youth ministries to wait expectantly on birth of Christ.