Waiting on the Lord

“By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust, your strength lies.” Is 30:15
As we enter into these sacred days of Advent, I am mindful of these words of the Lord to the prophet Isaiah.

This liturgical season we are constantly being reminded of the Lord’s coming and “He will not delay!” The Readings are peppered with, “In days to come,” and “on that day,” or “but in a little while.” In other words, the time has not yet come. It alludes to a time of waiting, a time of anticipating, a time of longing for the day when, “The eyes of the blind will be open,” and “the lowly will find joy in the Lord,” and when, “The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst.”

This past weekend, I was waiting to “find joy” as I was stuck in a gridlock for a couple of hours and lamenting the poor timing of construction during “holiday season” traffic. “By waiting and by calm…” I tried to cling to these prophetic words. Waiting is generally not a welcome gift. Most people I know find it difficult to appreciate. The wait is often imposed upon us. It can test us or even frustrate us because we like to control things and dictate their timing – and we wouldn’t mind if it was immediate.
Each day we wait – wait for a response, wait for results, wait in line, we wait for one thing or another and then once it comes, we likely wait on something else.  

“By waiting and by calm…” How these words ring clear, particularly for those who are discerning God’s will for their lives. Perhaps, you long to hear the voice of the Lord or yearn to hear the proclamation of your definitive vocation or at least the next step toward it.   

In the potential frustration of waiting or “mourning in lonely exile,” there is often an unexpected lesson to learn, potential gifts to receive and precious time to just be with Jesus with and in us. 

Perhaps, we can look to Our Lady, who lived that first Advent as we desire to live it – she, who the brilliant composer Andre Gouzes, O.P., refers to as the “Shelter of Heaven’s Glory.”

Our Lady’s time of waiting for the coming of the Messiah was one of eager longing and expectation of a Promise. Her waiting was not wasted, but filled with deep meaning though stepped in the cloud of mystery. In fact, as she waited to see the face of God, He literally grew inside of her body. She could not rush His coming. She could not plan His coming at the right moment – and He seemed to come at the wrong moment! By surrender and trust, she entered deeply into the richness of her Advent.

At the Annunciation Our Lady asked a question, “How can this be?” Perhaps, it is a question that arises in our hearts as we wait. The Angel Gabriel responded, “The Holy Spirit will overshadow you.” In God alone is this possible. “In quiet and in trust,” we can call upon the Holy Spirit, where we find our strength. After the brief words from the angelic messenger, Our Lady pondered these things in her heart and she waited.

In fact, her entire life was marked by waiting – waiting to see the face of her child – the Promised Messiah;  waiting for Jesus to begin His ministry; waiting at the foot of the Cross; waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise;  waiting for the Holy Spirit (again) at Pentecost.
Something powerful happens in the wait when we welcome it and receive it as a gift. We become dependent on Him and calm in our expectation, like Our Lady. In this wait, we can allow the Lord to grow in our hearts! As we find ourselves waiting (ultimately for Him, Who is to come) let us turn to Our Blessed Mother this Advent and ask her to teach us this patience that brings peace, and be open to what the Lord desires to reveal to us. For just a couple of days ago in the Liturgy, Jesus said to His disciples, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!” United with Our Blessed Mother, may we see what He desires for us to see and receive all that God desires to pour into our souls.

Let us not grow weary or discouraged, but rather trust in Our Father, who wants only good and beautiful things for His children. May we wait with joyful expectation for “that day,” of the coming of Our Savior when, “the desert and parched land will exult!”