When I was young, Christmas was my favorite day of the year. To me, Christmas started the moment the turkey and dressing was put away. The Christmas lights, carols, crafts, candy canes, even the 25 days of Christmas on ABC. While all the activities were fun, the Friday after Thanksgiving signaled a month of waiting, like an impossible journey ahead. Every day was one day closer to Christmas day, but that month always seemed like years.
And the worst waiting of all? Christmas Eve – the night before the excitement. When hours felt like days. The anticipation of waking up with my siblings in the wee morning hours on Christmas day to see our stockings laying out, illuminated by sparkling tree lights. The milk glass empty, the cookies half eaten on the plate we left out for Santa. I remember one year in particular when my older brother and I could not sleep out of excitement (after all, we had already waited nearly a month), so we woke up at 3am Christmas morning. We immediately woke up our parents… after all, it’s Christmas! We were told to go back to bed and that 3am was too early to start the day. More waiting?! Long story short, we survived.
As I grow older, I’ve realize that the dreaded wait surrounding Christmas I experienced as a kid is very much transferred into adult life. In many ways, it feels like we are always in a waiting stage. In high school, we are waiting for college. In college, we are waiting to enter the real world. In the real world, we are constantly waiting for the next promotion, the new house, the next stage of life the Lord has called us to. Waiting is inevitable, but how we handle it is what’s important.
Have you heard the story about Jacob marrying Rachel? Take a moment to read it below. In a nutshell, Jacob loved Rachel and asked her father Laban if he could marry Rachel if he worked for him for seven years. (Yes, I said SEVEN year.) Laban agreed. After the seven years, Laban provided a wedding feast for Jacob and Rachel, but on their wedding night, he sent Leah, Rachel’s older sister, to be with Jacob. When Jacob realized it was Leah and not Rachel the next morning, Laban explained to Jacob that he could marry Rachel if he continued to work for him for another seven years. Since Jacob loved Rachel deeply, he agreed.
Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”
Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.”
So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.
When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”
Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.”
And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years. Genesis 29:16-30 (NIV)
Jacob had to wait for what was good and right for fourteen years. It may be a short and sweet story in the book of Genesis, but I don’t know many people that would wait 14 years for someone they care about.
Thomas Jeffers once said, “Waiting time isn’t wasted time when you are waiting on the Lord.”
It is true that sometimes we are unsure what exactly we are waiting on or what is ahead of us at the finish line. We don’t know what the future holds or what the Lord has for us in the next stage. But what is important is that we trust in the Lord, that He will take care of us and provide. Sometimes the waiting stage can be difficult. After all, Abraham and Sarah waited for years for their promised child. This is where trusting in Him comes in play. I googled, “Trusting in God Bible Verses.” No less than 81 verses popped up, and I know there are more. Among the long list are a few of my favorites:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25
The Lord has a plan for our lives and I promise His plan is the best plan. Sometimes it’s not in our ideal timing, but trusting the Lord means we don’t just seek His will for our life, we seek His will in His timing. And sometimes that means we have to wait. Are you in a waiting stage in your life? If so, reflect on how you are handling the situation. Are you impatient and anxious like I was before Christmas day as a kid? Or are you patient and faithful like Jacob in his pursuit of Rachel? I pray it is the latter.