Galatians 5:5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.
I used this Scripture on April 11 of this year, commenting on one of our waiting room experiences, and find myself drawn to it again as we enter Advent, the season when we practice active waiting. Waiting to celebrate the mystery of Jesus’ Incarnation. And waiting for the glory of his return as King, to rule in justice and love.
This year there’s an added edge to our waiting as we grieve over the impact of raging coronavirus and political, social, and economic distress. In light of this, Elise Massa, leader of Arts and Worship in our church, invited artists to create meditation pieces with the them of “The Waiting Room.” You can see this beautiful collection of original visual art, poetry, and music here:
As a part of this project, Elise invited me to reflect on my waiting room experiences with Karis. The result is a set of vignettes, which I will publish here weekly in connection with themes associated with the candles in our Advent wreath. I hope they will encourage you to look for Jesus in your own circumstances, for Immanuel, God with us, never leaves us, no matter how lonely, frustrated, anxious, or sad we feel. As we wait for him, he waits with us. I pray you will be able to see him with you, as he showed himself to be with me in some of the toughest times of my life with Karis.
The first Advent theme is Faith. Karis age three weeks, Chicago
The phone jarred me awake. Dr. R spoke without preamble. “I don’t like the way Karis looks this morning. I don’t think she’ll make it unless I operate right away. I need your verbal consent, and hospital policy requires you be in the surgical waiting room.”
Frozen by fear, I stared at the phone until my almost-two-year-old son stirred and whimpered in the crib across the room. Hastily, I packed a bag with his clothes and breakfast and carried him in his pajamas down the block and across the street from the Ronald McDonald House to the children’s hospital. My husband was in Bolivia, friends and nearest family over an hour away.
The waiting room was empty, but soon other parents trickled in. Caring for Danny’s needs kept me focused until he fell asleep again in my lap. Then worry swamped me.
A man approached. “Debbie? My name is Harold. I’m a friend of your husband’s, here from Florida for a pastors’ conference.”
How did Harold find me? I have no idea. His concern triggered a flood of tears. I told him what the doctor had said. Then, hesitantly, I admitted, “I don’t know where God has gone. I can’t find him. I think I’m losing my faith.” He looked at me without censure, without judgment. Just these gentle words:
“Then, it’s time for the Body of Christ to have faith for you.”