Sometimes we are so sure about what the outcome of something will be that we miss it when it happens. This is what happened to the people who were living at the time of Jesus’ birth. They were certain that the Messiah they were waiting for would be some kind of political leader who would free them from the rule of the Romans. They figured they had God all figured out. The devastating consequence of this certainty is that they missed Jesus when he came. They made a big mistake about waiting in faith. They figured they knew the outcome before it happened. They were figuring things out for God instead of opening themselves to recognizing what God was really doing. In waiting for the Messiah, they left out the most important factor: Waiting in faith means being willing to be out of control.
The decision to wait in faith means that we do not tell God how to do things. Waiting in faith means opening ourselves to recognizing the answer, the solution, the event of God’s work when it happens. In Scripture, John the Baptist says, “A herald’s voice in the desert cries out, ‘Make ready a road for God. Clear a straight path for God (Luke 3:1-6)’’’. John teaches us that waiting in faith means to take another look at our lives and see where we need to make some changes in order to identify God’s action when it happens.
Religious people can get so self-assured about how God works or should work that we, like the people of Scripture, fail to see God’s grace in action. Knowing how to wait in faith means being willing to live without constantly looking for proofs or reassurances that God is really around. Waiting in faith is not about reassurances. It is about trust and courage to face the unknown. Waiting in faith is about being open to letting God do things God’s way.
This Advent we might ask ourselves the question, are we waiting in faith or just waiting?
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector