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Tuesday, 18 December 2018

A Heart Full of Hope



Waiting is no fun. Believe me, I know. This year has been a huge year of waiting for me – these past few months in particular. Waiting for answers, waiting for slow kids, waiting for packages to arrive, waiting on email replies, waiting for the ice cream truck (oh wait, that’s just today ;)) One of those packages I mentioned? I ordered it almost three months ago now from a company in the US. Customs, Christmas season and postal strikes in the US meant I waited three weeks for it to arrive, only to have it be the wrong item. They were very helpful and immediately sent out a replacement (and said I could keep the first one). Six weeks later, the replacement finally arrived, only to be the wrong one again! Again, very helpful and apologetic, refunded the money, told me to keep the wrong one and have, again, sent out a replacement – which I’m still waiting for. 
That’s the kind of year it’s been. Waiting, on top of waiting, on top of waiting. Holding on to hope that, at the end of the waiting, there will be something worth waiting for. 
It’s made this Christmas so poignant. 
That, and the fact that I’ve been ‘big picture reading’ (8-10 chapters at a time) my Bible chronologically for the past few months. I’ve read the Bible from start to finish before (once I’ve always been more of a pick a book and study it for a while person) but this is the first time I’ve read it chronologically. And it’s been mind-blowing.
The story of God’s incredible grace, patience and faithfulness not just through a single chapter or person but through generations. The prophesies, the psalms, the promises. God’s people failing over and over, walking away when all God wanted was to lavish love on them. Them finally being exiled, all these terrible but rightfully-deserved punishments being piled on them but still, throughout each death- and horror-filled prediction, the promise of hope. Of salvation. 
“I’ll send you away, but I’ll bring you back. Yes, you’ll be in exile, but I’ll send a Savior to bring you home. I will not forget you. When you turn back, I’ll be there, already waiting. You’ve strayed so far, but I’ll make a way back. You are my people. You’ve forgotten me but I will never forget you.”
And they were exiled. God turned away. He was silent. For seven hundred years. The people waited. And waited. And waited.
And then, just like God had promised, he made a way. 
Jesus came. 
A promise fulfilled. 
The end of the wait. 
The answer.
The Savior they’d been waiting for. 
Hope, when they’d almost given up.
That day, which probably seemed like every other day, nothing out of the ordinary, everything changed. Whether the people knew it or not, the wait was over. 
This is what Christmas is. The end of the wait. The promise fulfilled. 
I don’t like waiting but wow, to look forward in hope and know that, just like God did with Jesus, he will fulfil his promises in my life. 
This Christmas, hold on to hope. Look forward in hope. And know that God is working in the waiting. You are not forgotten. One ordinary day, you will see those promises fulfilled. And every one of them will be worth the wait.