November 29, 2014

Hopeful Waiting

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 29, 2014

Guest Writer: Meet my son-in-law Tripp Prince… We are blessed to have Tripp write our Advent devotionals starting today for the next three Saturdays. Thank the Lord for you Tripp!

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I am reminded afresh of a fundamental truth: our society hates to wait. We avoid waiting by offering overnight shipping, drive-through banks, and one-hour photos. Restaurants take reservations, and Black Friday shopping is now available on Thanksgiving Day, for those who “just can’t wait.”

However, there are certain kinds of waiting that are universally valued as essential and indispensable. No one complains about waiting for a garden vegetable to perfectly ripen, or for the climax of a film or novel to slowly build and develop. In these examples, waiting isn’t simply something to be endured, but is actually an experience in and of itself. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “for the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait.”

As Christ followers, we are invited into a life of waiting.

When we read the Scriptures, we see this theme pop up time and time again. The people of God in the Old Testament learned how to wait. They waited for God’s deliverance from Egypt, they waited for their entrance into the Promised Land, and when they sinned and rebelled, they waited for God to one day restore them again.

God’s people also knew first hand what it meant to be in need. They were, as the prophet Isaiah reminds us, a “people who walked in darkness.” For them, waiting, even when it is was good and right, was still a challenging experience. It was a faith building experience. It was a season where they learned to trust in the goodness and love of God despite the darkness they saw in the world and in their own hearts.

Just because waiting is right, it doesn’t mean waiting is always easy.

The picture Isaiah paints for us is one of hopeful waiting. A waiting that shows our trust in the promises of God, even when we are surrounded by “deep darkness.” And as Christians, we see these promises perfectly fulfilled in Jesus, who is “the true light, which gives light to everyone” (John 1:9).

Since the earliest days of Christianity, Christians have prepared for Christmas by setting apart a four week season of intentional waiting. This Advent season, which literally means “coming,” is an invitation to hopeful waiting. We are hopeful because we live on “this side” of the cross- we know that the light of Christ will never fail to drive out all sin and darkness. Yet we still must learn to be people who wait, trusting God to continue his work of transformation in our world and in each of our lives.

No matter how dark the darkness may seem, as you wait with great hope, know afresh today that Christ is always greater, always stronger, and always outshines even the deepest darkness.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Prayer: Father, fill me today with your light and drive out any darkness that remains within me.

Related Readings: 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:5; Revelation 22:5

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  1. pat says:

    As a professional, I challenged myself to make things happen in order to reach goals. at that time I did not incorporate my Christian faith with my professional life. the stress built up so much that I no longer enjoyed my job. I was reading a devotional one morning and the topic was waiting on God and talked about keeping a journal to show how God answers our prayers as a faith builder. I began to daily turn over my work responsibilities and problems to God asking him for guidance and direction. at first it was very hard to turn it over to him trusting him to work out everything in his timing, but as I stayed faithful to this commitment to trust God, I began to enjoy my job again and be even more productive and the problems seem to have resolution without me struggling to make it happen. every 3 months I would go back and read my journal and it was amazing to see God’s interventionon my behalf. learning to wait on his timingand trusting him to act at the right time was a challenge for me. I had always been so self sufficient and that such a great price to my peace of mind. the wisdom to wait on God and to trust his timing as been the most important step in my faith journey. I am now trying to instill that trust and that waiting to my 25 year old son who is just finishing graduate school and going out into the job market. God is so good!!

  2. Diane says:

    Thank you , Tripp, for the perfect devotional as we wait for my Dad’s entry into Eternal Life, soon – – – maybe today. This experience is reminding me about God’s perfect timing, and how we do not have to try to figure everything out for ourselves, but rather, wait and know God is in control.

  3. Leah Green says:

    What a blessing your devotion was Tripp! I am a first grade teacher. I would like to share with you that the need for immediate gratification is far more reaching than you may realize. It has created a generation of children who are not willing to work to learn. The teaching challenges that have resulted are formidable. Attention spans are shorter and children just do not want to write. We do all that we can with technology, but nothing takes the place of pencil to paper. Thank you for addressing this problem and for your wise reflections.

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