“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
If nothing else, 2020 exposed one of my worst character flaws. I am impatient. There I said it! I am terrible at waiting. Waiting to finish the home we started building way back in 2019. Remember 2019—back when life was normal? Waiting to see friends, to fly to Australia to hold my youngest grandchild and kiss her chubby cheeks. Waiting to worship in person and to sing without a mask. Waiting for Covid to end.
I want what I want, and I want it NOW!
I can’t imagine growing up in an Israeli family, yearning to be delivered from servitude in Egypt, or once having been delivered, wandering around in circles for forty years, waiting to enter the promised land. What if I’d been born during the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments? FOUR HUNDRED YEARS, people.
How would I have reacted if, like Mary, the angel Gabriel visited me with news that strange things would happen to me and that I would be the mother of the Messiah? No doubt she had joined her people longing for the promised One. She would have known the prophesies that the Savior would be born of a virgin, but she must have wondered, why me? (Luke 1:26-38)
Even Joseph’s nighttime angelic visit may have had him scratching his head to know if he imagined the whole thing. He, too, had been waiting for the Messiah to come, but was this really happening to him and his bride-to-be? And how did he feel about taking on the responsibility of fatherhood to the Savior of his people? Joseph, believing the angel’s promise that Mary’s son would save his people from their sins, acted in obedience, and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:20-21)
The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he’d live to see the promised one. He waited. When the Holy Spirit prompted him, he obeyed and went to the temple where he saw his promise fulfilled. Holding the baby in loving arms, Simeon blessed God, and proclaimed the child to be God’s light to both the Gentiles and to Israel. (Luke 2:25-35)
Remember the prophetess Anna, whose husband died only seven years after they married? Then, day after day for decades, she came to the temple to pray and anticipate the coming Messiah. Anna was rewarded with His appearing. (Luke 2:36-38)
About now I’m feeling pretty small. While I’ve joined hosts of others whining about the inconveniences of a pandemic—which is less than a year old I might add—I am filled with awe at the examples of the faithful through the ages who believed and waited. And waited. God rewarded their patience with promises fulfilled.
Covid will end. Some sort of “normality” will return. In the meantime, if we believe God’s promise in Philippines 4, we don’t have to wait for the peace we crave. He freely offers peace. If we embrace fear instead of faith and spend our days whining, God will still fulfill his will in His own time, but we won’t experience His peace as we navigate this pandemic.
Yes, we are entering a most unusual Christmas season. But even so, as I celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, I want to keep uppermost in mind the faithful who believed and waited for their promises to be fulfilled.
And maybe, against all advice, I’ll even pray for patience.
After moving seventeen times, Cele LeBlanc and her husband Randy are thrilled to live in their forever home in the north Georgia mountains where they stop whatever they are doing every day to enjoy gorgeous sunsets. They have three gainfully employed children, six exceptional grandchildren, and a precious great-granddaughter. Cele’s unpublished women’s fiction, Just About Perfect, won awards at two writers conferences. She enjoys reading, baking, singing, hiking and dancing with Randy, and exploring the U.S. and the latest continent where any of their children and grandkids live.