Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:14
With such instant forms of communication today, our impatience with hearing a reply from others is sometimes laughable. Just the other day, I called and texted my wife four times in about three minutes. I had a burning question and couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t answering. “Are you ok?” she said when she finally called back. She had been in an important conversation with someone and was (rightly) ignoring my calls. In hindsight, my burning question wasn’t really that important.
In Psalm 27, the writer cries to God for action. But there is no sudden and miraculous response. Instead, the Psalmist must do what comes least naturally to people in fear – nothing. He chooses to wait on the Lord. In the last lines of the Psalm, he basically relaxes. He enters God’s rest. And he remembers that anything worth having is worth waiting for. The end of this month marks the beginning of Advent and the start of a new church year. Advent is so utterly counter-cultural in how it asks us to wait for Christmas. But it’s more than just holding back on singing Christmas songs in worship. Advent’s real gift is how it asks us to ponder how we wait for the Lord each day in our lives. In our fears. In our questions. In our times of sickness and hopelessness about the future. Can we trust that God will be faithful, even if we simply relax and rest in the Lord? Can we, like the Psalmist, choose to do nothing while everything tells us to hurry and thrash about? Easier said than done. But thankfully, Advent is not a test – just an invitation to learn again what it means to wait on the God who loves us so, so much.