Introductory Note:

Richella Parham has graciously allowed us to share a recent post from her website, Imparting Grace. It just happens to be a perfect bookend to this week’s Renovaré Podcast (linked below) in which she chats with Nathan Foster about the “liturgy of waiting.”

We hope this enhances the start of your Advent.

Renovaré Team

Every few years, some kind of small appli­ance emerges as the lat­est and great­est hol­i­day gift. From the Veg­o­mat­ic to the Fry Dad­dy to the George Fore­man grill — there’s always some­thing that promis­es great returns for the home cook. This year is no excep­tion. The lat­est craze? The Instant Pot, a coun­ter­top gad­get that will cook food in a frac­tion of the time of oth­er methods.

That’s not real­ly sur­pris­ing, is it? Nobody likes to wait. We get out of it when­ev­er we can. We dri­ve on express­ways, choose the express lane at the gro­cery store, and pay extra for express shipping.

Like it or not, though, this kind of wait­ing is part of life. Slow-mov­ing traf­fic or cash reg­is­ter lines might be irri­tat­ing, but most­ly they just try our patience.

Anoth­er kind of wait­ing, though, requires a lot more than patience.

Pris­on­ers wait to be set free.
Chron­i­cal­ly ill patients wait to be healed.
Refugees wait to return home.
Sep­a­rat­ed fam­i­lies wait to be reunit­ed.
Those in dan­ger wait to be rescued.

That kind of wait­ing takes courage — courage to remain strong and faith­ful, no mat­ter how long the wait­ing takes. 

The ancient Israelites knew a lot about that kind of wait­ing. Long promised a Mes­si­ah, they endured cen­turies of hard­ship. Siege. Destruc­tion. Exile. Slav­ery. No won­der the psalmist sang:

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24 ESV)

Hope is what fueled their courage: hope for the com­ing of the Mes­si­ah, hope for the ful­fill­ment of all of God’s promises.

In the book of Lamen­ta­tions we read:

I remem­ber my afflic­tion and my wan­der­ing,
the bit­ter­ness and the gall.
I well remem­ber them,
and my soul is down­cast with­in me.
Yet this I call to mind
and there­fore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not con­sumed,
for his com­pas­sions nev­er fail.
They are new every morn­ing;
great is your faith­ful­ness.
I say to myself, The Lord is my por­tion;
there­fore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait qui­et­ly for the sal­va­tion of the Lord. (Lamen­ta­tions 3:19 – 26NIV)

The sea­son of Advent is about wait­ing. As we live on this side of the birth, life, death, and res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus, it’s easy for us to dis­tance our­selves from the Israelites. We know that the promised Mes­si­ah came. With the angels we sing Glo­ry to God in the high­est!” We live in the light of the Incarnation. 

But in a need­ful and pow­er­ful way, Advent links our hearts to the hearts of God’s peo­ple who longed for the com­ing of the Sav­ior. As we sur­vey the car­nage of a world wracked with sin, we pine for the sec­ond com­ing of the Sav­ior, when every­thing wrong will be set right.

We watch. We wait. We long for the day when all will be well. Even now we run on the fuel of hope. And like always, hope comes from the same source. The Lord’s mer­cies are still new every morn­ing. He is eter­nal­ly good to those whose hope is in him. 

From this hope we take courage. This Advent sea­son, let’s encour­age one anoth­er. Per­haps these words of Paul’s could be our prayer for each oth­er: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may over­flow with hope by the pow­er of the Holy Spir­it.” (Romans 15:13NIV

God, help us to wait with the sure knowl­edge of your stead­fast love.

Related Podcast

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by Impart­ing Grace, whose per­mis­sion to pub­lish this piece we acknowl­edge with gratitude.

Text First Published December 2017

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

View Selections & Learn More >