What are you waiting for? And how well are you waiting? Laura Savage-Rains turns our attention to a surprising woman who waited well.
Find Joy in the Waiting
By Laura Savage-Rains
Are there any yummy smells coming from your oven these days? Do you find it hard to wait to bite into a treat? The anticipation is almost as good as the taste itself!
Other waiting periods can be painful and long. Waiting for a diagnosis. Waiting to have a child. Waiting for God to bring you a husband. Waiting for a job.
I know a little about waiting. Some of the painful waiting for me included listening to my biological clock tick tock away the opportunity for motherhood as I watched my thirties and early forties pass me by as a single, childless woman.
Determined to claim the promise of "abundant life" made by a single adult named Jesus Christ, I was blessed with a wonderful, gratifying single life. Yet, I still carried that nagging ache in the depths of my heart for a family of my own.
Have you ever noticed how many women in the Bible lived with unfulfilled dreams and knew the pain of waiting?
One of these "sheroes" is Elizabeth, whose story we hear during Advent. Imagine with me that moment when a very young and newly pregnant Mary arrived at the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah. Elizabeth's joyful greeting of Mary came at the end of a lifetime of waiting for a child of her own and at the end of centuries of waiting for the promised Messiah for her people.
But do you know what else ended with the words spoken by the faithful-in-waiting Elizabeth?
Four. Hundred. Years. God had been silent.
That's right. The Jewish people had endured 400 years with no new prophetic word about the promised rescue from their God. Then, in the fullness of time, God set in motion the events leading up to the birth of our Savior. And it was Elizabeth who was the first human voice to break those 400 years of silence when she exclaimed to Mary, "God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her." (Luke 1:42-45, CEB)
Elizabeth's waiting was rewarded threefold: she was finally having a long-awaited son, she was visited by the mother of the Lord, and she became God's mouthpiece breaking 400 years of silence with a birth announcement!
Of all the people, purposes, and places God could have chosen to break 400 years of silence, God chose a woman's voice when Elizabeth confirmed Mary's miraculous pregnancy. This forever affirms the high value God places on women's voices, women's abilities, and women's bodies! What a reward for waiting!
My own painful waiting for a child and a husband was finally rewarded when I married for the first time at age 46 and received 2 adult children and a son-in-law. Unbeknownst to me, I had also been waiting for the invention of the internet, because it took God and an online dating app working together to find me a husband!
When our dreams are in God's hands, the waiting will be rewarded beyond our wildest imagination, but not necessarily according to our own expectations.
While we wait for God's fulfillment of our hopes and dreams, God invites us to prepare ourselves with joyful gratitude for his activity on our behalf - even when we can't see it or feel it. We will never fully understand God's timing - such as a 400-year wait, or even a 40-minute wait - yet, we can trust God's ultimate purpose and the unique role chosen for each of us to play in God's story.
What are you waiting for?
Laura Savage-Rains, speaker, leadership and ministry coach, and author of the award-winning God Chose a Woman First: Discover the Keys to Resilient Confidence through the Voices of Biblical Women, in which she wrote about 13 women whom God chose - instead of a man - to be the first person to experience God in a new way or to proclaim a new message from God. She loves the church and serving alongside her husband Mark, a minister of music, in Lakeway, Texas. Learn more at WomensMinistryCoach.com.