How Long, Oh Lord?

A light snow falls outside my living room window. This light snow is a simple reminder to slow down especially in the midst of a long North Dakota winter. The truth is that we are not good at waiting in this busy hectic world. In fact, we rush from here to there hoping for the same results. Yet often our waiting leads to more unintentional waiting.

As a single 39 year old, there are many prayers that I am still waiting for God to answer. I still yearn deeply to be a wife and a mother. It is something that I have longed for since I was a little girl. Every day, I find myself continually crying out “How long, oh Lord, will you forget me forever?”

But this past year, I found myself unexpectedly waiting; living in the midst of liminal space—between what was and what is yet to come. During this time, I learned that waiting was forming me and shaping me in new and exciting ways. Little did I know that God would show up like God always does and lead me to a new community of faith where my gifts would be used again to and for his glory.

And so this Advent season, as we journey to the manger and the birth of Emmanuel—Christ with us, I find myself clinging even harder to this time of waiting. A time set apart for each of us to trust in the promises of this precious infant who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness, joy in the midst of sorrow and hope in the midst of despair. This holy child who calls us to trust in the promises of waiting for the Good News to be fulfilled.

Time is a gift from God, a means of worship. I need the church to remind me of reality: time is not a commodity that I control, manage or control. The practice of liturgical time teaches me, day by day, that time is not mine. It does not revolve around me. Time revolves around God—what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will do (Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren, p. 108).

Jesus’ birth calls us to pause and worship together as we gather as a community of faith.

Time is indeed not mine or yours. Time is found as the Christ child is born and fulfills the words of the angel spoken to Mary. “You will conceive a child and bear a son. And you shall name him Emmanuel; God with us.” In waiting for this one to come, we learn what it means to truly wait; wait for the one who comes to turn the world upside down and later will die on a cross for our sins. In our waiting, we know that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. And the waiting for Emmanuel is a waiting I choose to dwell in; each and every day.

Tara Ulrich
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