Waiting is one of the hardest things for a person to do. From little on, we hate waiting. Think of Christmas Eve, waiting to open your presents. Think of, “Are we there yet?” Think of watching the clock at work. Think of waiting for your next vacation. Think of waiting in the drive thru with a narrow window for feeding the family before the next practice, recital, or game. Think of waiting for traffic when you just want to get home and unwind. Waiting is hard, and, when we wait long enough, we start to wonder if what we are waiting for is ever going to come or if it is worth it. Yet God tells Habakkuk and us to wait and that it is worth it. “The vision waits awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
The Church has cried “Come, Lord Jesus, come” for centuries, for millennia, and it may cry it for centuries more. No one knows, only the Father. All that is left for us to know is to wait and that He will come. Christ will come when He will come, and He will come for those of us who have waited, who have lived by faith in Him and His saving work.
That is the thing about grace: we can’t hasten it or slow it down. That is the thing about faith: it doesn’t dictate the message or alter it, but simply receives it. Christ is coming, and He will come no sooner and no later than the appointed time. We cannot speed it up, and we cannot slow it down. We will be waiting or we will be unprepared. The message is: wait. Faith simply receives it, without complaint, without advice for God, without improvement.
Faith waits, and lives while waiting. Jesus is coming, as He came on Christmas, as He comes in the Sacraments. That is God’s promise. God’s promise is always enough. God’s promise is always best. God’s promise, specifically, that He is coming to rescues us, is the heart of this Advent season.
Rejoice in God’s promise. It is fulfilled. Wait on God’s promise. He will fulfill it. Live, as God’s people live, by faith (Paul gets his thesis statement for his Letter to the Romans from this passage!). Live by faith which, like the salvation it receives and, indeed, all we are and have and do, is a gift. Even more, it is a gift we don’t need to wait for, because it took hold of us in our Baptism and lives by the Absolution for as long as we wait, until Christ comes again and we need not wait anymore. And so we wait. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
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For more on Advent, check out our first pass at the season or our second, most recent, pass.
For more writing by Wade, you can find his books here and more blog posts here.