God is teaching me the difference between worldly waiting and faith-filled waiting.
I was recently diagnosed with a pulmonary condition that could eventually be life-threatening. After the initial diagnosis, I had to wait a month to see a specialist and get my many questions answered. Then there were numerous tests scheduled to determine the cause, severity, and subsequently, the treatment. Between each test, there was a waiting period before I received the results. I have to admit that those waiting periods were harder to go through than the medical tests! All in all, it took four months from diagnosis to beginning treatment.
They lived in hope for all of us.
During this time, I had several projects to complete, and one project in particular turned out to be quite a blessing. I had agreed to develop an Advent prayer service for my parish RCIA group. As I prayed for inspiration, images of the very first Christmas and the faith-filled people of that time kept resonating with me. I was inspired by their trust in God’s promise of a Savior. They and their ancestors had lived in hope. Theirs was a faith-filled waiting. Their faith assured them that God’s promise was heartfelt and certain. Even when they doubted, God sent them people whose trust in God could bear fruit: the prophets, John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph. They trusted. They waited. They followed God’s will. They lived in hope for all of us. And their waiting bore fruit for all of us.
This insight of faith-filled waiting changed my perspective on my situation. I could see how those four months of waiting were holy time given to me to accept my illness, educate myself about it, and share my anxiety and hope with others in my life. Most importantly, it gave me time to pray for a deeper faith and trust in God’s will. God was teaching me, through the example of my spiritual ancestors, how to wait, not in my way, but in a faith-filled way. And just as the faith-filled waiting of the people of that first Christmas bore fruit, my lesson in faithful waiting also bore fruit. Waiting and hoping in faith has brought me to a deeper trust in God and God’s will for me. It has freed me to accept this journey and to pray that it will bear fruit.
Waiting in a worldly way can bring anxiety and fear. Faith-filled waiting bears the fruits of patience and peace. May our waiting bring us closer to God. And may we continue to be blessed with faith-filled waiting throughout the new year.