My thoughts (Keith Phillips):
Before I retired, I was a Hospice Chaplain. Many times I sat with a dying patient and family, and we would wait together. I remember Mary, sitting with her and her daughter. There was nothing for us to do but wait, expectantly.
The hospice nurse had given Mary some roxinol to make her breathing a little easier, as well as instructing the daughter in its use for later. Just a week or so ago the patient’s family had gathered from around the country. They had an early Thanksgiving together, knowing it would be the last with the matriarch physically present. Mary was especially pleased that “the black sheep” grandson had wanted to be there and had been welcomed by all. Now that everyone had gone home, Mary said she was “ready.”
Mary was old and tired; she had enough of this world. As she and I would talk, she would remember old hymns, most of which had to do with heaven. She didn’t need to be concerned with the possibility of second chances on the other side of death. She assured me that she was “right with the Lord.”
So, there was nothing for Mary and me and her daughter to do, but to wait, expectantly.
God’s people had been in bondage in Babylon for fifty years. They missed their homeland; they missed their family who had not been enslaved with them; they missed the Temple where it was said that God dwelled. At the end of those years, Isaiah reminded them, “For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But [my emphasis] those who wait upon God get fresh strength.”
Waiting demonstrates our trust in God and in God’s timing. Waiting indicates that we realize that it’s all in God’s hands and that’s okay with us. Waiting is what the author of Hebrews suggests is the manifestation of faith: “Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect” (11:39, 40).
Thought for today: Some in Israel waited, expectantly, for Christ’s first advent. Some today wait, expectantly, for Christ’s second advent. How are you at waiting?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.