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One of my favorite Christmas decorations is the Advent Calendar. Growing up, our family had one shaped like a chimney with a Santa on top. Each “brick” had candy in it and my brothers and I would rush home from school and wait for my mom to give the green light. Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means “coming” and it refers to a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the birth of Christ. I guess those tiny chocolates were meant to help us wait out the time before the big day.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about waiting. Most of us are waiting for something: a vacation, a baby, a test result, a job, a relationship, recovery, forgiveness. It’s hard to wait. It’s even harder wait expectantly and prepare for something you’ve never seen work out. As grown-ups, there is no countdown. No guaranteed outcome. No candy to help along the way. There’s just waiting.

My wise and thoughtful friend Crissy and I met up for coffee a few weeks ago and we talked about this waiting business. We both agreed it can be painful, annoying, and frustrating at times. (Ok, mostly I was saying that. She’s a better person in general) Crissy, knows a bit about waiting, specifically waiting to meet the right person.

She told me that when she turned 35, she started looking at waiting differently when she noticed that waiting is, and always has been, a part of God’s people. It’s who we are. We have always been waiting for something: delivery from Egypt, the Promised Land, the Messiah, the return of Christ. Crissy said she believed God was actually interested in making her good at waiting. That realization helped her learn how to wait with hope, expectant of God’s goodness in her life.

I admitted to her that sometimes I hate hope. Hope gets your hopes up. When it doesn’t work out, you have a fall that you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t hoped in the first place. Maybe it’s better to just take what comes? Crissy just smiled and said that reminded her of a verse from Zechariah (b/c she is that cool, and can bust out Zechariah. What?!?!) and it says:

Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will
restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12

I’ve thought a lot about that strange phrase, “Prisoners of hope” since that day. I take it to mean that when we follow Jesus, there comes a point when we can’t get away from hoping in Him. The truth is, even if I wanted to stop hoping, I couldn’t because I know Jesus and I know Him to be terribly good and reliable. It’s too late. I can’t stop hoping. I’ve experienced too much of His kindness to deny that He has my best in mind whether it feels that way or not. Deep down, I expect Him to come through in the way that He sees is right. I’m hope’s prisoner.

Crissy also serves as a living reminder of what it looks like to prepare while waiting. She founded and runs Mika, a non-profit community development organization that identifies and equips leaders already living in low-income neighborhoods to effect the changes their community needs. Through relationships, Mika helps these leaders identify, design, fund and manage the initiatives the residents want to see happen. Mika also has a number of youth programs ranging from access to arts, to surfing, to academic tutoring; all of which gives kids access to healthy role models. If you want more info on volunteering or giving to Mika, click here.

I should also tell you that Crissy didn’t wait to meet someone in vain. I had the honor of attending her wedding to Moses a couple of weeks ago and it was truly a holy and joyful day. It was hands down one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to. Complete with a live band and pinatas! More importantly, it was beautiful to watch two people who love the Lord with their lives join each other in bringing healing and restoration to the world.

Whatever you are waiting for this year, I pray you are a fellow prisoner of hope, waiting expectantly on the God who never fails and is always good. There’s no countdown per say, but He’ll show up in the right way at the right time. Remember that waiting is part of who we are and God can use this time to make us better waiters. Lord knows I need the practice….

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

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17 responses to “Waiting”

  1. Jason Brown says:

    I love the fact that we get to be prisoners of hope. It’s sort-of like we can’t help it. It’s who we are because of who we follow (and who is in us). I agree that at times I don’t want to hope because those hopes can be dashed. But I can’t help but hope — and not in some generic, abstract way, but in the reality that God is at work in this world he loves so much.

    • Thanks, Jason. I agree, even with the risk of hopes being dashed, I’m glad to have it. Being hopeless is worse. It’s good news that our hope is founded on who God is rather than the end result of whatever we are hoping for.

  2. another oddly-in-perfect-timing-for-my-life-post. Thanks so much. I laughed and totally related to the “hope gets your hopes up” part. It’s so true. I’ve felt that way and actually thought that it was better to go through life expecting less than great things to happen… but then I did change that point of view. We are all waiting for something, you are totally right. It is different for everyone, but you’ve really helped me (with your words and sharing the Bible passages) cope this morning with some big changes and things I realized I’m waiting for. I’ll keep your post in my head and I know it’s going to help me get through this time! As always… thanks, Cindy!

    • I’m so happy it encouraged you! That’s the best feedback. I, too, was encouraged by that verse and my friend’s words and couldn’t wait to pass them along. I hope you get what you are waiting for, all in perfect timing:)

  3. jenalee says:

    Love this post. No matter what stage we are in, we are all waiting for something.

  4. Becky says:

    Awesome Cindy! This is exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you!

  5. “A prisoner of hope.” As Jason says above, “we can’t help it.” The way my friends and I talk about it, we often know too much and are in too deep to not be prisoners of hope. But so much better than the alternative. For a prisoner without hope is simply… a prisoner.

    Thank you for this post, Cindy. Be sure to save the Dec 8 candy for me.

    • Thanks, Greg! I’m glad some of that came through. I, too, am very glad that hope can’t be helped. Interesting idea about being simply a prisoner without hope. I think you are right!
      And yes on the candy. 30 pieces coming your way!

  6. Bree says:

    This is SO SO SO good. You are ridiculous sometimes. My life is a testament of this hope and the reality that our God is so stinkin’ faithful. Chat soon. Love you friend. Keep writing.

  7. Lesley212 says:

    This is well written, inspiring and thought provoking. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  8. Michael says:

    Shit. This was something I needed to hear.

    It is funny how we’ll be disappointed for the sake of Christ. His birth, his life, and his death were disappointing for so many people. But for others it was so enriching and invigorating. I wonder if there are times when I want him to deliver me from and give me something that is actually Biblically good to have and instead he is offering me something else. Maybe our disappointment comes from our preoccupation of expecting Jesus to do his thing in a way that is good and right but not the way he wants to do it. We wonder “Why aren’t you taking care of this in this way?” and instead he says “But this is the way we need to go.” The hope is there for us and him but the way to it is so different.

    • Thanks, MIchael. I needed to hear your response today. I do wonder why he isn’t taking care of things when really he is, just not in the way I want him to. Thanks for offering a better perspective!

  9. […] my friend Cindy wrote THIS PIECE about being single, waiting, and having hope.  It is […]

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