Each year I enter the holiday season with intentions of remaining present; embracing every moment of the glorious “season of Light” and savoring the precious truths God has for me. Alas, my noble intentions quickly dwindle amidst the daily distractions. As I began my Advent celebration, a thought struck me: “How would waiting with hope change my perspective on my schedule and seasonal priorities?”
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
advent a season of waiting
For many of us who embrace an Advent tradition, we understand the implication of the deeper meaning of anticipatory hope its origins hold. Messianic prophecies foretold the coming of Hope in the person of Jesus Christ.
Lingering with Advent week one’s theme of “hope”, the past collided with the present in my mind’s swirl of thoughts. Israel’s long season of waiting; a trial of faith in God’s promises, seemed widely different from the anticipation of today’s Advent attitudes.
For our anticipated wait for the celebrated birth of Christ rests in the knowledge of its fulfillment, while theirs rested in the God who promised.
hope weaves the past, present and future together
Israel’s hope settled on the promise of redemption in the person of the Messiah yet to come. Our present hope as believers centers on a finished work; a continuing work of redemption we call sanctification.
Through Advent we celebrate the fulfillment of Messiah’s coming, knowing His birth also means His death; purchasing our freedom from sin.
But ultimately, like the Israelites, we still wait for the fulfillment of a hope yet future. While they waited for Christ’s initial coming, our hope looks to the future fulfillment in His second coming.
waiting with hope
One of the most overused words in the English language, the word “hope” often implies a desire for a [possible] outcome. Coming to scripture with that definition of hope undermines trust and faith in God.
Biblical hope exclusively implies trust in an established outcome or waiting for a promised outcome.
waiting or hoping?
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;” Lamentations 3:25 provides an Old Testament example of the Hebrew word, “qavah”, which means “to wait”, translated in Lamentations as “hope”. The same Hebrew word is also used in the familiar verse of Isaiah 40:31.
The nuance of this Hebrew word is remarkable: it implies a “twisting or binding” to the object for which you wait.
In essence, when we “hope” in God or for that which He promises, we bind ourselves to Him and His promise in the wait.
“Hope” then becomes not only an action verb, but one of steadfast confidence in an established outcome. Romans 5:5 illustrates this confident hope perfectly;
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Unlike the paltry hope bantered about in common conversation, which “may or may not” come to fruition, biblical Hope is the unalterable fulfillment of God’s promises given to us by the Holy Spirit.
how to wait with confident hope
The question then becomes, “How to wait with confident hope?” Whether we focus on the future coming of Christ this Advent season or whether we wait yet still for answer to prayer, for physical, emotional or spiritual healing, or a way forward out of a current trial; the path remains clear: we wait with Hope.
Adding to our verse above in Lamentations we find a clue in verse 26: “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:26)
Waiting quietly on the Lord requires intention, space and a listening ear. We cannot accomplish waiting quietly with hope while running from place to place, baking, shopping, eating, celebrating and preparing.
creating space for waiting
Creating space for waiting requires intentionality on your part. Schedule one or two fifteen minute breaks throughout your day or add extra time to your morning and/or evening quiet time.
In an undisturbed place, practice slow, deep breathing keeping your exhale twice as long as your inhale. Begin with prayer inviting God into your quiet waiting space.
- Reflect. Spend a few moments reflecting on your wait. Ask God to open your heart to what He has for you in the wait. Affirm your confident trust in Him and His goodness in your situation.
- Release. Relinquish your expected outcome for His promised outcome. Tell Him of your struggle in letting go, ask Him for grace, mercy and strength to place all in His hands.
- Receive. Listen attentively and quietly for the Holy Spirit’s voice. Ask for an open heart to receive His instruction.
- Respond. Close in a prayer of thanksgiving for the peace of knowing the outcome remains sure regardless of how long the wait endures.
hope in the word
Waiting with biblical hope transforms an uncertain situation to one of confident assurance through trust in God’s Word. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;” (Psalm 130:5)
In seasons of waiting your soul finds rest in the Word of God because its promises are steadfast.
Making space for quiet waiting, reflecting, releasing, receiving and responding coupled with time in the Word of God births a unwavering Hope.
waiting with hope in a faithful god
This Advent season as you enter into times of reflection on Christ’s coming as the Messiah in a manger; His gift of redemption and His impending return, consider the fuller meaning of the wait.
When the burden of an uncertain future presses in, look back: remember God’s past faithfulness. His past faithfulness in all things concerning you, positions you for waiting with unwavering Hope. as you look towards the future.
For waiting is not solitary, but binds you to the object of your desire, Jesus; our true and eternal Hope.
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