We are in the Advent Season now, and one of the themes of Advent is waiting.
It is very difficult for us to wait – especially in our day and age. We are an “instant” and “drive-thru” kind of society, expecting things to come fast.
But many times God asks us to wait. It is part of our sanctification, part of our maturing in the spiritual life.
We are born impatient
Some time ago I was in the airport waiting to check in, and over in the sitting area was a tired mom traveling with 3 young children. The oldest was about 6, then a 4-year-old and a little baby. The baby was getting fussy, and started to cry. The mother had to get the diaper bag, find the baby bottle which was already filled with water, then dig around and find the container of formula.
Now the baby was screaming at the top of his lungs. The mom was trying to hurry, but she was distracted with keeping an eye on her other two kids while putting the powdered formula into the bottle. Finally the bottle was ready and she put it in her child’s mouth – instant peace. The baby was content and happily sucking away.
This baby has been fed over and over again by its mother. He knows he is going to get his bottle, but it is not soon enough, not fast enough, and he screams out of imagined starvation. The child has not yet learned how to wait.
I thought how we can be like that with God. When God doesn’t answer our prayers fast enough or in the way we want, we start kicking and screaming — at least inside.
During Advent we will hear this reading from St. James:
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:7-8
A farmer or a gardener has to have a lot of patience. They plant the seeds in the ground. And then they have to wait. They know, with God’s help, that the seeds will grow and produce a crop. But there is a time-lapse between when they plant the seeds and when they can actually harvest the produce.
This is often the case when we pray for something. We plant seeds through our faith but it takes time for us to see the harvest of what we have been praying for. That is when patience and trust enter in. God is faithful, and He keeps His Word, but we usually have to wait to see how He is going to work things out.
Use your waiting times
The next time you have to wait for something this Advent season – waiting in line at a store, waiting for the doctor — let’s use that time to pray and ask the Lord to teach us to be more patient.
And to grow in expectant faith that He is at work in this troubled world of ours, that He has heard our prayers, and that He is working out a beautiful plan.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? Luke 18:8