I sat staring at my email inbox, refreshing the page every few seconds. Nothing.
I was waiting to hear back about a potential job – one that, from my perspective, seemed to be a good fit.
I refreshed the page again. Still nothing.
I’ve spent 2015 refreshing my inbox and sitting in doctors’ offices, and the waiting has taken quite a toll on my mind and heart. It wasn’t until I read Mackenzie Byersdorf’s words in the Naptime Diaries Make Room for Advent devotional that I was able to pinpoint the root cause of much of my inner turmoil. She wrote, “I’ve found that when what I’m really clinging to is my desired outcome, the disappointed, bitter feelings start to grow. But when I hold tightly to Jesus, letting my plans and wishes become secondary to knowing Him and trusting in His goodness – I am able to wait with hope.”
That’s when it clicked.
Obsessing over what I want instead of Who I trust is a recipe for crippling anxiety and perpetual disappointment. It breeds distrust and uncertainty. Rach Kincaid touched on this in the same devotional. In her words, “He longs for us to believe Him to be faithful and good. He longs for us to expect Him to show up. And if we’re not living our lives with baited breath and goosebumps in anticipation of what God wants to do in our lives, then I think we’re missing out on His best life for us.”
Christmas is the Christian’s reminder that this kind of waiting isn’t in vain. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Luke described Simeon as a “righteous and devout” man who spent his life waiting for the Messiah to be born (Luke 2:25). Before he died, he had the unique privilege of cradling the Fulfillment of hope in his arms. In a video recounting Jesus’ birth, the Simeon character exclaimed, “The only thing more powerful than expectant hope is fulfilled hope.”
That line took my breath away.
At every moment, we can live with the confident expectation that God will do what He promises while looking over our shoulders at the innumerable ways He already has. Fulfilled hope is fuel for expectant hope.
Waiting on the Lord doesn’t mean we cross our fingers and hope He gets it right while we do everything in our power to get what we want. No, Christian waiting isn’t outcome-oriented but God-focused. It’s fixing our eyes on Him and trusting Him to be who He says He is whatever the outcome.
Because of God’s proven character, we don’t have to wonder if He can be trusted. Instead, since He is trustworthy, we can face our circumstances in holy anticipation of how He will showcase His goodness, grace, and glory in the midst of them.