Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Anticipation

I remember counting the days until Christmas Eve. Do you? With every day that passed, the excitement grew. It reminds me of when I was growing up there was a Heinz ketchup commercial with a little boy waiting for the ketchup to come out of the bottle and onto his hamburger while the Carly Simon song “Anticipation” played in the background. It was classic. The ketchup was moving so slowly (something we could all relate to). You could see in the boy’s face how much he was going to enjoy that burger as soon as the ketchup showed up. A few years later, Tom Petty had a hit song about waiting for an answer from his girl. He sings, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

We do not do well with waiting. In fact, the rate of which our society has increased with technologically, corresponds to the rate of which our patience has decreased. We want our oil changed in twenty minutes. Our medical test results back in hours. We want our meals cooked in minutes in the microwave, air fryer, or Instant pot. No brewing a pot of coffee. I want a k-cup in less than a minute. I remember a time when everything you ordered through the mail came with a caveat, “Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery.” Today, we want our packages on our doorstep in two days, and when it takes three, we are beside ourselves! No, we do not do well with patience. In fact, I’ll bet most of us use squeeze bottle ketchup. No more waiting. Though sometimes the ketchup shows up too quickly and we end up with more than we wanted, but that’s a different discussion for a different day.  

My point is – patience is tough for us. Verses like Psalm 27 are a challenge. “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). When we are in need of the Lord, we do not want to wait. We often see prayer as like calling 9-1-1. We expect God to show up immediately with lights flashing and siren blaring. That’s not always how He operates though, is it? I don’t know about you, but there are some things for which I have prayed for a long time before the Lord responded. And when He did respond, it was not always the answer I was hoping for. Apparently, there are things I need to learn, some experiences I need to have, before God decides to show up. He knows that. I do not. It is really a matter of trust as much as it is patience. The Bible says in Proverbs 3, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:4-5). God is omniscient (all-knowing), so He often has a plan unfolding that we cannot see. Look, I never expected to be a pastor! I was the last person I would have ever seen in that capacity, but God sees things in us that we often cannot. The same goes for our lives. The path we walk will sometimes not be the one God has in mind, and so He will do whatever it takes to help us realize we need to change direction. It is the “whatever it takes” that can sometimes be hard. 

The waiting is the hardest part but try to have patience. Trust Him. Hey, the Israelites waited for thousands of years for the Messiah to come, and He did. Finally. “The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – [was] born in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:11) We are so blessed that He did! Enjoy the anticipation of the next nine days as we wait to celebrate that holy night! He is so worth the wait!

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Remember to email your praises and petitions to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We lift them up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.

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