Waiting. We certainly experience our fair share of waiting in this life, and the Bible talks about waiting, as well:
- For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken (Ps. 62:5-6).
- It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord (Lam. 3:26)
- Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each day I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly (Ps. 5:3).
Waiting. Rarely enjoyed, but often endured.
As I watched news coverage during the 2020 election, I marveled at the stamina some people had to stand in a line for hours. Casting their vote meant more to them than the time they were “giving up” waiting.
Isn’t that the way it is? How many times did I wait in line (for two or more hours) just to experience the thrill of a ninety-second roller coaster ride?! What we hope for fuels our ability to wait for it. As Romans 8 says, “And in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (vv. 24-25).
Why Does Advent Matter Today?
During the Advent season, we look back as we remember God’s promise to provide a solution to man’s sin. The Israelites could not see God’s plan or watch it come to fruition. Yet, they waited—unfaithfully, at times, but they waited. We, however, can see from this side of the cross that Jesus fulfilled the promises and the prophecies. He came!
So, on this side of the incarnation, what is Advent all about? Why does Advent matter today?
For me, Advent has become a sweet discipline to pause and reflect. I consider what it was like for people who lived before Jesus walked the earth—remembering that waiting is part of God’s redemptive plan. As I remember, I also acknowledge the blessed refinement that comes from waiting. Both in the Old Testament and today: God uses waiting to refine us. He shows us more of his character—his ability to provide, sustain, carry, rescue.
So, during Advent, we look back at the first coming of Jesus from a stance of remembering—retelling the stories of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, and others— but we also look ahead to the coming again of Jesus, our rightful King and Redeemer (Rev. 19:11-16).
His coming is sure and his reign is just. One day he will vanquish all the enemies; one day he will walk among us, his people, again; One day he will make all things new.
One Day . . .
But what about now? He still walks with us, sits beside us, bears our burdens, gives us rest, leads us beside still waters, and restores our soul. He says,
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).
I’m learning through the years of walking with Jesus how to have a restful soul even when all around me is anything but restful. It’s sometimes a battle to fight for rest, which seems a little crazy! But when we take on the yoke of Jesus and learn from him, he brings order to our crazy!
So, we are waiting for the not yet of Jesus’s return, but we are also basking in the now of his rest. Today, we not only have the ability to know the one true God; we can experience his presence, moment by moment, as well. But one day, we will be fully restored with him in glory, no longer hindered by sin.
Wilbur Chapman, who penned this beautiful hymn in 1910, reminds us of that glorious day to come in the last verse of “One Day.” These words—later modernized in a rendition of the song by Casting Crowns—are a wonderful reminder of the glorious arrival of Christ that we are waiting expectantly for:
One day the trumpet Will sound for His coming,
One day the skies with His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved One bringing:
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming — O glorious day!