God Waits in Patience Like the Rest of Us
Reflecting on the Fourth Sunday of Advent: Three Days After Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 113
Old Testament: Isaiah 42:14-21
Gospel: Luke 1:5-25
O God, you call us to embrace both you and the children of this worldwith unconditional love. Give us grace to discern what your love demands of us, that, being faithful in things both great and small, we may serve you with an undivided heart. Amen.
It’s tough to be a child in the days before Christmas. To be a kid at Christmas tests one’s patience. Certainly, it is true that children generally lack patience in all things. They have little concept of time. Mostly, what they know is NOW. I think that may be the reason patience is the most difficult virtue to teach children. When one struggles to look ahead, the future cannot be seen. It’s all NOW. Yes, it is tough to be a child at Christmas.
Advent is a time of patience. In Advent, we acknowledge that all things come in their time. Paul says that God sent Jesus when the time was right (Galatians 4:4). Not too soon, not too late. Jesus came when all things had reached their fullness for his arrival.
When one reads the whole Old Testament narrative, one cannot miss that God is patient. Yes, there are times when the Almighty is frustrated with his people’s bad behavior, but God continues to be patient, continues to make a way for them to return to him. And yet, sometimes God is impatient like a kid at Christmas. God is so in love with Israel, that God wants to act in order to make things right, NOW. In Isaiah God says,
For a long time I have held my peace,
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor,
I will gasp and pant.
I will lead the blind
by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
and I will not forsake them.
As a young mother in the throes of labor who impatiently wants to be done with the labor pangs to give birth to new life, so God is ready to make everything as it should be NOW. But even “all things in their time” applies to the Creator of all this is. Just as God sent his Son the first time when it was the right time, so God will send his Son the second time when it is the right time. Jesus says, “…about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36).
Our God who loves us so much, impatiently waits for the right time to make all things right. God does so because God is also everlastingly patient.
In Advent, God waits in patience like the rest of us.
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