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Waiting is God’s word

December 8, 2017
David Gillespie

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“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” 

(Isaiah 40:31)

Waiting is something that we regard as a bit of a nuisance. At best it is a waste of time that could be better employed and – at worst – it is an experience of growing impatience, anger or anxiety. Buses come along on every route except the one we want. The doctor takes excessive time over every patient before us in the waiting room. Post after post does not bring a decision on that all-important job application.

Today waiting is an unfashionable word.

It has been branded a curse in an age when we live by the clock and there is always too much to do.

But waiting is a holy word.
It is a Biblical word.

The Old Testament is the Israelites’ story of waiting for the coming of the Messiah while the New Testament reveals the Christ whose followers must also learn to wait. Even the Twelve Disciples had to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit before they began their work on the Church. And those who came to faith through them – then and in the ages that followed – wait for the return of their Lord to judge the world and make all things new.

Waiting, therefore, is God’s wordAnd it is a major theme of the season of Advent. We look back to the old prophecies of the Messiah – we recall centuries of waiting long since past. And, at the same time, we look forward, as we wait for Christ’s Second Coming.

When will Jesus come again? No-one but God knows the answer to that question. But we’ve been well warned to be prepared and to be ready. Jesus himself warns us – in several of his parables – that God creeps up on us when we least expect him, and that we should therefore make sure we’re properly prepared to receive him. But then that is true of everyday life.

God is always knocking on the door, but mostly we are so poorly tuned into him that we fail to hear or to recognise. On Advent Sunday Churches will have lit the first of the candles on their Advent wreaths. The light symbolises Christ – the Light of the World. And, week-by-week, it will grow stronger representing the Light that is coming into the world, the true Light which enlightens everyone.

If we want to be ready to receive that Light then we need to make good use of the darkness of Advent.

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle that is the lead-up to Christmas, listen for that still small voice. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Be vigilant and be prepared.

We keep silence – as we wait for the Lord…

“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles.
They shall run and not be weary.
They shall walk and not faint.” 

(Isaiah 40:31)


David Gillespie
The Rev Canon David Gillespie is a Board member of CMH:I


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Egan House, St Michan’s Church,
Church Street, Dublin 7

T (01) 872 7876
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