It’s easy to live in anticipation at this time of year. The first doors on the Advent calendar get opened. The house is trimmed with lights and greenery. The tree goes up. The gifts go under it. The Wise One would know which gift was for which person in our family. We siblings admired presents but without the label on them, the suspense just about got us every year. It’s coming. It’s getting closer. It’s almost …
‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. “’In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.’ Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NIV, emphasis mine)
“’Watch for this: The time is coming’ – God’s Decree – ‘when I will keep the promise I made to the families of Israel and Judah. When that time comes, I will make a fresh and true shoot sprout from the David-Tree. He will run this country honestly and fairly. He will set things right. That’s when Judah will be secure and Jerusalem live in safety. The motto for the city will be, “God Has Set Things Right for Us.” Jeremiah 33:14-16 (MSG, emphasis mine)
Christmas has that arrival moment too. Christmas morning (or Christmas Eve if you follow a different tradition) the gifts are opened. Delight is seen on faces. Toys are played with by young and old. It’s fun!
But sometimes the “Watch for this” is longer than the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Sometimes the watching and waiting feels like there is no end in sight. Sometimes it’s the watching and the waiting that makes me wonder what God is up to. Does He have a plan? Does He remember His plan? Does He see what kind of circumstance I find myself in? Does any piece of it make sense to Him? It usually doesn’t make a shred of sense to me!
In those moments, I’d like to take over and speed it up a little. I’d like to solve it. I’d like to be able to tie up all the loose ends and put them all neatly in their places. Then it would all be okay. Then it would feel like I helped God work His plan. But there’s the rub. I’m not meant to help God’s plan fall into place on my timetable. That’s working over Him. That’s using God to be some sort of solution guy who will just solve it for me. That’s not the relationship I want with God at all.
Jeremiah prophesied about watching and waiting and then the people of Israel had to do a whole lot of both. I have no doubt that Jeremiah’s listeners and the generations of people who followed Him wondered what on earth he was writing about. God had promised. God had said He would do it. But His time frame was rather vague. “In those days and at that time …”
So why do I think that God’s timing in my life will be any more specific? He knows exactly the days and at exactly the right time for the things that I continue to watch and wait for to happen. Appropriately, I haven’t got a clue! If I did, I’d help God’s plan move along and that would undoubtedly mess absolutely everything up!
Watch and wait. It really is better to just watch and wait.
God, too often I’d like to help move your plan along. Forgive me for putting myself in the place of control. I, again, yield the circumstances of my life into Your hands. You know what is best. You know what is needed. I choose to trust Your timing because You are my good, good Father. Amen