Advent: Waiting in Wonder

The birth of Christ was a whisper of God after a 400-year silence. The people of Israel had waited generations for God to send the Messiah.

I like to consider myself a patient person. But in reality, if it is something really exciting — say like Christmas presents or a long-awaited vacation — I stink at waiting. Can’t the good stuff just get here already?!

Waiting Without Hope

Waiting and watching is a huge part of my life now in the aftermath of betrayal.  Those of us walking this unwanted road wish for a map that provides directions to the healing destination. We don’t want to wait. We want to take steps now:  to fix things, to not hurt, to avoid grief, or to not be so angry. Yet, no such map exists. The waiting can be brutal. It’s filled with fret, anger, impatience, loneliness, and often, doubt. Did the Israelites feel this too during their years of silence? 

We’ve all waited for God to move, to answer, to speak, but many times it feels much like the 400-year silence Israel endured waiting for the Messiah. I imagine many had long given up on God answering their cries for salvation. Even if they hadn’t given up, I’m sure they remained skeptical of the Lord’s plan to save them. This wait was just too much, too long, too painful. 

Micah 7:7 has a little to say about our waiting abilities: But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”  Take a moment to read that again and see which words jump out at you.  Did you catch the “I watch IN HOPE” phrase?  Other translations exchange the word hope with expectancy or confidence. So it might say something like, “I wait with expectancy” or “I watch confidently.”  As a betrayed partner, learning to wait with confidence and expectancy is so difficult, as both have been destroyed in the fire of betrayal. It’s hard to have confidence and expect things and people to change when we have been so devastatingly disappointed. 

Real Life Waiting

A few months ago during the separation from my husband, I tossed and turned for hours before falling asleep. Not because I wasn’t tired, but because I was mad. I didn’t want this story. I didn’t want these painful emotions. I didn’t want the loneliness and humiliation that accompanies it. I wanted to yell at my spouse, at God, at all the others who were directly or indirectly involved. I wanted to tell God just how I felt about having to wait for things to get better. I knew God could answer my prayer, but I had no confidence in His timeline. 

Unfortunately, anger isn’t my only waiting mode. I’ve been plenty fretful as well, which is the opposite of what Micah says. I conjure scenarios in my mind in which God comes along too late, or the answer to my prayer is incredibly painful and not at all what I’d hoped. 

To avoid fretting, I jump into action. I plot; I plan. I get things done. Usually, all of which just make the problem bigger. Semi-confidence takes over as I try to do “my part” in helping God answer my prayers.

I also wait in one other way: full of guilt which Satan distorts into shame.  He loves to taunt me. Ever heard these words before? “You deserve this. The answer won’t come because of your actions, your words — because of YOU, YOU, YOU! This no-answer is your punishment, so don’t even bother asking again for God to move on your behalf.” I’m sure the Israelites looked back over their many years of disobedience to God and thought the same thing. We’ve finally gone too far, and He will not help us now.

Why We Can Wait

That is not the God we serve. Our loving, forgiving, and faithful God can truly be waited on in confidence. That might be hard to accept but consider these truths.

  • While my partner might change, God never will (see Malachi 3:6, Psalm 33:11, Hebrews 13:8, Ps. 102:26-28). 
  • While my self-worth might plummet, God’s enamored view of me never will (Ps. 56:4, Zep 3:17, Eph 2:10).
  • While my partner may choose to leave (physically or emotionally), God never will (see Matt. 28:20, Ps. 54:4, 23:4).
  • While life may feel out of control, God is never disordered (see Col. 1:17, Rom. 8:28, Ps. 27:1, 46:1-3, Heb. 13:5-6). 

We can wait in confidence. We can hope with expectation. Micah knew this truth hundreds of years ago; we can know it now. Confidence indicates a faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way. It speaks of a relationship of trust and intimacy. Every time my prayers have been answered, they have been in the manner that deserves confidence in the One who works on my behalf. My love and confidence in Him can be strengthened as I look for His care in every detail in my life – not just my marriage. 

By the end of the verse,  Micah speaks with certainty: I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”  Why would we wait for someone we don’t expect to show up?   Micah waits because he is confident that not only will God hear him, but God WILL show up and save him from his trouble. 

It can be the same for us. As confidence in God grows, so can faith. I love how The Message version paraphrases Micah’s words:  “But me, I’m not giving up.  I’m sticking around to see what God will do. I’m waiting for God to make things right. I’m counting on God to listen to me.”  That sounds like a battle cry I need!

While we wonder if our answer will come, we must remember that God had not forgotten the Israelites in those silent 400 years. He was only preparing the most perfect gift as the response to their cries. And in the seemingly silent moments between prayer and answer in our lives today, He is doing the same. 


Waiting in Hope with You,


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