Category Archives: Holidays

Advent: In the Waiting

As for me, I look to the Lord for His help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.  Micah 7:7

The birth of Christ was a whisper of God after a 400-year silence. An answered prayer the people of Israel had waited generations for God to send.

I like to consider myself a patient person. But in reality, if it is something really important — say like Christmas presents or a long-awaited vacation — I stink at waiting. I mean can’t the good stuff just get here already!

This is basically my attitude on prayer, so when I read Micah 7:7, I had to take notice. Micah speaks of waiting confidently. We’ve all waited for God to move, to answer, to speak, but many times, it feels like the 400-year silence Israel endured. I imagine many had long given up on God answering their cries for salvation. Even if they hadn’t given up, I’m sure very few were still waiting confidently for the Lord to save them.

If they were anything like me, I can tell you how they waited: fretfully, angrily, impatiently, and guiltily.

Just a few nights ago, I tossed and turned for hours before falling asleep. Not because I wasn’t tired but because I was mad. A situation I’d been praying about was not changing, not even one tiny bit. I wanted to yell at the person involved; I wanted to tell God just how I felt about having to wait. Sure, I was waiting for God to answer my prayer but I was not confident in his timeline; I was angry.

Anger isn’t my only waiting mode. I’ve been plenty fretful while waiting as well, which is actually the opposite of what Micah says. I conjure scenarios in my mind in which God comes along too late, or the answer to my prayer is incredibly painful and not at all for what I’d hoped. My stress level peaks and I lose it — and that ain’t pretty. (Just ask the ones I live with.)

On the other hand, in order to avoid the fretting, I wait impatiently, taking action in my own wisdom. I plot; I plan. I get things done. I’ll just help God with answering my prayer. Usually, all of which just make the problem bigger. Semi-confidence takes over as I try to do “my part” in helping God. (Just typing the words out makes it laughable.)

And then there’s one final way I find myself waiting on God: guiltily. That conversation is ALWAYS the same. “Alicia, you deserve his silence. The answer won’t come because of your actions, your words — because of YOU, YOU, YOU!” This no-answer is punishment, so don’t even bother asking again for God to move on your behalf. I’m sure the Israelites looked back over their many years of disobedience to God and thought the same thing. We’ve finally gone too far and He will not help us now.

That is not the God we serve. He is loving, forgiving, and faithful God and can truly be waited on in confidence. Micah knew it hundreds of years ago; we can know it now.

Confidence indicates a faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way. It speaks of a relationship of trust and intimacy. Every time my prayers have been answered, they have been in the manner that deserves confidence in the one who works on my behalf. His love for me and care for every detail in my life should strengthen the trust I have for Him.

The end of the verse speaks of certainty that not only does God hear me but he WILL save me. As my confidence grows, so should my faith.

God hadn’t forgotten in those silent 400 years. He was only preparing the most perfect gift as the response to the Israelites cries. And in the seemingly silent moments between prayer and answer in our lives today, He is doing the same.

 

 

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Following Stars

IMG_2286I’m a fan of the star tree-topper. Forget the bows and monograms and all other options. Why? The star reminds me of the point of all this celebration-finding Christ. As I was reading the wise men’s story this morning, a question popped in my brain: just how long did these men journey to find Christ? After a little investigation, I discovered that scholars believe their journey took two years. (See Matthew 2:1-12 for extra confirmation.) They first saw the star on the day of Jesus’ birth and finally arrived when Jesus was around two years old.

Two years of their lives spent searching for Christ! We can’t even wait a week to find Christ in a hundred different areas of our lives. We encounter an obstacle –a mountain to be moved– and we demand He move it now. But what if the journey is the important part? What if the search is what truly leads us to not just find him but continue our journey with him. The journey strengthens our faith, fills our hearts, renews our minds. Now we know that at the end of each journey, He will be found.

In verse 9 of Matthew 2, it says “once again the star appeared.” That’s two appearances, two separate journeys. Our journey to Christ is not a singular experience. It is a life of following the star. And just as it appeared for the wise men more than once, it will appear to us more than once. We should face every morning with the joy of following that star and knowing that it will lead us to a relationship with Christ that is all-fulfilling and always adventurous! So today and tomorrow, and every day that follows,  as you keep your eyes focused on what’s above, remember each step leads not only to Him but to know Him better.