President John Schierenbeck | December 2010 Pastoral Letter
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. (Psalms 37:5-7)
Advent is a season of preparation for us and our people. In the season of Advent, the people of God wait for the coming of Jesus, their Messiah. God’s Old Testament people waited for the coming of the promised Messiah with faith. With that same faith, God’s New Testament people wait for the second coming of Jesus. Sometimes we get tired of waiting. As children, in December the time seemed endless as we waited for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. God’s Old Testament people did get tired of waiting for the fulfillment of His promises. To counteract this, God encouraged His people as they waited. We need this same encouragement in these last days.
In Advent Wait With Patience
The Psalmist confidently sings, “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” This Psalm was directed toward God’s Old Testament people who saw the reality of how the wicked prospered and the righteous suffered. This is a waiting of faith because it rests in the Lord. The Psalmist asserts, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Patience means that faith never stops waiting confidently for God to act.
We live in an impatient world as people hurry to get ready for Christmas. It seems that more and more people are getting frustrated from rushing around too much. Anti-anxiety medications are an increasing part of our modern existence. Impatience is revealed in traffic “road rage,” in the pushing and hurrying of crowds, and in the exhaustion of preparing for Christmas. But there is a deeper growing impatience in people today with the political process and the economic future. As pastors we also grow impatient because of the press of things that have to be done and the problems we encounter in our ministries.
There is a deeper and more dangerous impatience. Spiritual impatience is a very real danger as we grow discouraged with the long wait for God to act. When things don’t do our way, we grow impatient with God. God’s Old Testament people grew tired of waiting after they left Egypt. They grumbled and complained when God did not act fast enough for them. We also grow impatient in our lives with the way God is acting on our behalf.
We need to hear the words of the Psalmist, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will bring it to pass (act).” God will act. He has already acted on our behalf by sending His only Son into this world of sin and death to save and rescue us. This trust in the God Who has acted will enable us to be still before the Lord and to patiently wait for him. In our needs, in our troubles, in our suffering God is not far from any of us. Learn to trust in him and to wait patiently for him to act.
Be patient and quietly wait. The Christian does not simply say that things are bad and we need to muddle through. We are waiting expectantly for God’s answer, God’s help, God’s rescue. Endurance means waiting for someone real and something real. God is real. God’s salvation is real. Jesus second coming is real. Advent waiting looks forward to God’s ultimate gift of everlasting life. For God gave up His own Son for our sins and raised Him from the dead for our righteousness in order that we might live lives of patient waiting for something that is a done deal. We already are the special people of God. We are already his children through baptism. We already are people of faith. We already are citizens of heaven on the way home. We already have a foretaste of the new, perfect life to come. And yet we are waiting to receive the end of our salvation.
The Psalmist encourages us to hang on to God, and therefore to wait patiently for Him because He will act on our behalf. This advent we are reminded not just to be stoically patient because things happen. We are to wait patiently for God to act in our lives and in history. It’s like grandparents at the airport expectantly waiting to see their grandchildren. In a picture that Jesus uses, it’s like patiently and expectantly waiting for your wedding day.
Don’t worry about the way things are going in this world of Satan’s domination. Don’t fret over the one who progresses in his own way, over the man who carries out evil devices. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act. Then Christmas will be a real celebration of joy. This is the season to prepare for His coming!
Blessings to you and your families as you wait on the Lord,