Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Written by Doug Miller
I’m a Boston Celtics fan, and I still remember the glory days with the Big Three- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. In 2007, they brought home the NBA title. Scripture also has its own Big Three- faith, hope, and love. Faith and love often get the headlines, but it seems to me that Advent is all about hope.
I define hope as 'believing that a perceived longing has the possibility of being fulfilled'. Consider Romans 8:25- "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Hope is all about waiting, but HOW we wait matters. I define patience as 'coming to grips with time'. Time has never been our enemy- even though our fast-paced world tends to convince us otherwise. Time is a tool- a tool for healing and transformation.
But time can only accomplish its purpose if we hope patiently. It’s interesting that the Chief Priests and Pharisees remembered that Jesus said he would rise in 3 days. So they got permission to 'seal' the tomb. I have a hard time believing THEY remembered but the disciples forgot. More likely, the disciples remembered, but fear and the unexpected turn of events caused the disciples to lose hope. That's what happens when fear replaces patience during the waiting period. Fear destroys faith, and faith is what keeps hope alive.
Dealing with the pain/discomfort of total knee replacement, watching political polarization fracture the body of Christ, and redefining community in ways that avoid touch and in-person interaction has made life difficult these past months for me. But these months have also reminded me that our hope is in God. As I hope patiently and learn to appreciate the value of time, God transforms me in ways that open my eyes to the opportunities for good that were present all along. And that’s a really good thing to remember this Advent season.
Jesus, we confess how challenging it is to be patient, rather than giving in to fear or the despair that comes from pain. Through refreshed hope, transform my spirit.
Conclude with Stillness (2 minutes)