“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7
Christmas is so hard. You see wrapped gifts under the tree, and all you can do is peek at the wrapping, shake the package.
As children, we used to sneak under the tree with a flashlight, whispering together thinking mom and dad couldn’t possibly know what we were doing (they were watching from their bedroom, unknown to us).
The waiting is soooo hard. Patience is a virtue that must be developed and Christmas time is not the time to pursue it.
I get the same feeling when I am working on a large project. I recently made a SpiderWeb Afghan for my grandson for Christmas.
The bigger it got, the more I kept repeating “is this the last round? No! Then is this the last round?” Now that it is finished I am excited to see his reaction to it. I constantly look at the calendar and count the days until I give it to him.
While I am excited to give my gift, he is excited to see what he will receive at Christmas. “That’s long time grandma” is his response when we talk about that special morning.
The 2 hardest words in the English language might be ‘just wait’. Throughout the old and new testaments we read story after story of people’s lives and God’s promises fulfilled. In every situation we can look back and see God’s hand at work and each blessing received at the right time. But that time is God’s timing, not our own.
My husband and I are just coming out of a financially difficult time. Like millions of others we felt the sting of unemployment. Medical bills continued as my pain worsened and surgery was scheduled.
Throughout these days we trusted in God and asked ‘why Lord’. We waited on Him, I was impatient. No amount of worry, of crying, or foot stomping was going to change the situation.
There is only one way to learn patience. Through events that cause us to wait.
Old Testament figure, Joseph, experienced many “just wait” moments. He is sold by his brothers into slavery, is imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. He does not see his family for many years. He “waited patiently for the Lord” and became a person of authority serving Pharaoh. ( read about Joseph starting in the 37th chapter of Genesis )
Read the story of Mordecai in the book of Esther. He sent a warning after hearing of a plot to kill the king. It was customary to offer a token of gratitude. But none came. “But wait patiently for God”. On the night when Haman was plotting Mordecai’s death, the king could not sleep and read the chronicles. With God’s perfect timing he arranges for Mordecai’s public reward and discovers Haman’s wrong deeds. God put all the puzzle pieces in place and in the end His name was glorified.
Can you look back at your life and see incidents where no matter what you did, God’s hand was there without you knowing it. My best personal example of this took place at the still-birth of my first grandchild.
A package was delivered to our home. Before I could open it my daughter called to tell me the child she was carrying had died in the womb. The doctor was starting labor for her to deliver him.
With tears running down my cheeks I rushed to be at her side. I held her hand as this lifeless child came quietly into the world, born into Jesus’ arms. I spent the night with her in the hospital. When I arrived home I opened the box that was delivered. Inside was a plaque that read “Joy Comes in the Morning. Psalm 30:5”
The package was from my father-in-law and his wife. I called to tell them about the baby and how timely the plaque was. “Sherry didn’t know why, she just felt she was supposed to send it to you”.
God had touched her heart and prepared a special message of encouragement. If I had opened that package 24 hours earlier, the meaning would have been lost.
So whether it is a large knitting project, a job search, bible study or Christmas morning, we learn to “be still and wait patiently”. All things happen at the right time and no amount of worry or impatience will change this.
Maybe next time I work row after repeated row after repeated row on a knit or crochet project, while my hands are moving mindlessly, I will quote Scripture and memorize passages. While I struggle to block a sweater I will pray and ask blessings on others, naming one for every straight pin I poke into place.
Christmas is coming. So are the events of your life. Will you grab a flashlight and try to sneak a peek? Or will you wait upon the Lord, trusting all will work for good in His time?