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Frustrated With Waiting

If you are waiting for a train in France, you can now pass the time by reading a short story. French train stations have been gradually rolling out a new kind of vending machine: one that prints out a free story for you to read while you wait. You can choose the length of your story and the genre you might be interested in. Currently, there are over 5’000 stories available for people to access, but you have to be on the platform of a train station to get one.

We spend much of our lifetime waiting…for something. We wait for…

  • exam results
  • traffic lights
  • a doctor’s report
  • our kids to get a little more independent
  • a job offer
  • a change in our circumstances
  • a new opportunity to try again
  • justice to rule and reign in our world

None of us likes to wait, although some of us are better at it than others. We often feel frustrated with the way things are in the world or the way things are in our lives. We get tired of waiting. Can we complain to God about our waiting, about feeling stuck and forgotten?

This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent, traditionally a time of waiting and preparing for Christmas. For centuries, the children of Israel waited for their Savior. Time and time again, they cried out and asked, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13:1) The Hebrew writers put their feelings into songs of lament telling us that it is okay to feel this way; telling us that God’s kingdom is here but not yet fully here.

What we fail so often to realize is that waiting is part of God’s work. He’s at work in us while we fret and run around in our impatience. He’s at work in the history of our world pulling together various elements so that he can usher in his kingdom. So lament about waiting if you must, but don’t despair; don’t give into pity. Just because we are waiting doesn’t mean God isn’t up to something.

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