I looked over my shoulder in the car and told all three of them to sit still and be patient, but that did nothing but make them squirm more….
All of them giggled at me. The youngest one said, “Pops, what does it mean to be patient?”
Being a man of few words I started my explanation.
Grandson, the farmers wait for the rains to come so that the wheat can grow. The farmer waits “patiently” not simply for the rains to come but for the crop to survive.
The farmer does not know and cannot control what may eat, choke, or burn up the crops. Patience is hard, sometimes excruciating, but if you wait you get the the blessing of the harvest.
It is like the psalmist says: “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.”
I continued my lecture. To wait patiently means to slow down, stop squirming around and sit still. Stop talking and be silent and see what is going to happen. As I was talking to those in the backseat I caught my reflection in the rearview mirror. Oh…I’m talking to myself. I hate it when this happens.
Stop squirming and be still. It is going to be better than Ok. It’s going to be great. Just be patient.
You might be laughing at me, but it’s a good reminder about what this season of Advent is all about.
Advent invites us to wait patiently—lacking knowledge or control—without fear, to stop squirming. How do we strengthen hearts, moving from squirm to stillness, even amid the pain?
Look and listen for Jesus who is here and keeps coming slowly, surprisingly… if we are still we will see His grace moving in our lives. Advent is a good time to look both ways, look back and look forward.
Look back. What have you been praying for? What were you longing for last week or last month or last year? It’s easy to forget what we’ve received, moving onto the latest issue or task, overlooking gifts.
Maybe we didn’t see that He answered are prayers simply because it didn’t come or look like what we expected. It may not have be the neat, tidy closure wanted, the problem solved, the wound healed without a scar. God’s response may include or prompt new challenges, new requests. It may come from the least likely person or place.
What is it that we are the most grateful? How have you received love? Yeah, stop squirming impatiently and look back.
Give thanks. Hold onto those memories as hope for what is yet to come.
And now look forward. God is waiting patiently with love. Surprise! God waits, for you. God waits patiently as we wander, rebel, go our own ways, and in various forms get lost.
Our Father waits patiently for us to come to our senses, He waits “for the eye of our heart to be enlightened.
Like the parable of the extravagant father and his lost sons in Luke 15, God waits in patient anticipation for the lost to return home. God is there scanning the horizon for the first glimpse of you and of me. Seeing us a long ways off, God runs wildly to welcome the returning home.
“Strengthen your hearts,” James writes, “for the coming of the Lord is near.” Isaiah says, “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! … God will come and save you.’”
Stop squirming, look back and look forward!!!