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The Blessed Agony of Waiting

 

I wish I were as good at waiting as Carson, my seven-year-old nephew. The other day he said with all the sincerity and excitement only a grade-schooler can embody, “I’m so excited about Christmas Eve, it makes my legs wiggle.”

His waiting is marked by eager excitement (okay, yes, mostly for the presents Santa will bring). But my waiting, I’m sad to say, is usually marked by impatient toe-tapping and eye-rolling. And sometimes even by dread or detachment.

At times I feel like I’ve spent the better part of my years waiting. I grew up in a family with three women and one bathroom. As the youngest of those females, I didn’t earn the best spot in line. I live a block from a train track, and I can’t count the wasted hours I’ve spent in my trusty Honda waiting for another line of train cars to pass. I’m a 38-year-old never-married woman, and the wait to find a good man who’s a good fit for me has at times seemed unbearable. And for the past seven months I’ve been waiting to hear back from the countless companies to which I’ve sent my resume, longing for one of them to hire me.

I don’t know when I went from waiting well and eagerly, like Carson, to being the impatient and sometimes gun-shy wait-er I often am now. Perhaps all the cumulative waiting wore me out. Or our culture, where waiting is unheard of, where we value our instant gratification and have founded entire industries and food groups on that value, has permeated my thinking.

When Carson said his leg-wiggling comment the other day, I wanted to rub his head, let some of his anticipation rub off on me. Especially in this advent season. When we wait for a holy, humble baby. When we remember those generations that waited with great expectation for a Savior.

Rushing around with our Christmas shopping, party going, and concert attending, we often neglect this part of the Christmas celebration. We so often forget that before “For unto us a child is born,” (Isaiah 9:6) came these verses (1-5):

“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of the oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.”

Only then do we get the famous Christmas verses. Only with these verses in mind do we truly appreciate what comes next:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Remembering the oppression and strife and sin that came before helps us appreciate what Christ brought and changed with his miraculous birth.

I think back to my family’s wait for my leg-wiggling nephew to arrive. Years of infertility and miscarriages preceded his adoption into our family. And because we waited with my sister and brother-in-law so long for this boy, his presence is so cherished. (As is his sister’s, who was adopted a couple years later.)

I remember well waiting in the Kansas City airport with my parents to meet our new family member. When my weary sister and brother-in-law finally exited the plane with our wide-eyed Carson in tow, my dad kept snapping pictures and my mom kept saying, “He’s here! He’s finally here!” I just stood there silently crying.

The long wait made this moment all the more sweet and meaningful. And looking back, I know it formed us by giving us a huge object lesson in just how valuable a son/nephew/grandson is. A new family member! Our family member.

My waiting for a husband and for a job keeps me mindful of just how valuable these things are. Reminds me they aren’t givens. That good gifts come from God, and not from any of my own efforts. My waiting and longing for good things helps me not to take them for granted when and if they arrive.

And waiting for the Christ child helps us not take his saving presence lightly. Helps me remember why our God took on human flesh. Helps me marvel at this familiar story afresh.

The kind of marveling that brings me to my knees. And sometimes, if I'm lucky, even makes my legs wiggle.
 

Thanks!


Thanks Camerin for sharing your experiences and sharing them beautifully. I began reading your articles more than ten years ago and they have really made a huge difference to my life. Many Blessings, Nick Kampala, Uganda.

Thank you for your thoughts


Thank you for your thoughts on waiting. It is another great reminder that God is great - even when I'm frustrated as a 34 year old, single woman desiring a Christian husband. I've enjoyed your book too!

Hey Camerin, I am reading


Hey Camerin, I am reading your book “Table for One” and I am loving it so I decided to look you up and I even just added you as a friend on Facebook. It is SO funny that when I came onto your blog I landed on your story “The Blessed Agony of Waiting”. It just so happens that I am also the youngest of 3 girls. I am almost 32 and have never been married. The big difference between you and I is that I have a child. Actually, she is a 17 year old teenager. LOL! I know you are thinking wow how could that be? Well I had her when I was a freshman in high school. I became a Christian almost 5 years ago. I have read several amazing books including Captivating, Single Sassy & Satisfied and now yours. They have all helped me SO much! I love it how God puts these books and other things in my life to show me that He REALLY care about EVERYTHING in my life, especially the desires of my heart; Psalm 37:4. Recently He has shown me a lot of hope by bringing me Love, Faith, & Hope verse to me in a procession of sorts. It started out with 1 Corinthians 13:4(Love) MANY times then it was Hebrews 11:1(Faith) several times and 3 weeks ago was when He confirmed for me Proverbs 25:5(Hope). The icing on the cake was 1 Corinthians 13:13 (Love, Faith, & Hope) by using a song from Casting Crowns called “Always Enough” and something else that would be too long of a story to write here. LOL! When I kept getting the “Love is patient” verse over and over it drove me CRAZY!!! What kept me from going crazy was many things. Praying about it, crying about it and then I even went through the Bible and looked up many verse on waiting and patience. I kept a list of them if you want them. Now God is trying to remind me that “it will be worth the wait”. Boy this is easier said than done!!! LOL! I hope this helps you in some way and I wanted you to know that I am praying for you in regards to this. Thank you SO much for this book and God Bless!
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