Who is like you, Lord God of hosts? *
O mighty Lord, your faithfulness is all around you.”
— Psalm 89: 8
A few weeks ago, on the first Sunday of Advent, in his sermon about the season, Dean Hollerith reflected on how this season, in particular, is one of waiting, of anticipation, expectation and longing for Emmanuel, God with us.
Advent, as a season of longing, can be a dark night before the coming of the most beautiful dawn; a dawn that changes all our lives for eternity and which takes us from a world without hope to one filled with it. Born in a manger in Bethlehem this season, Jesus is the realization of that hope on Earth. Historically, it took years to become known to the many who had waited for the Messiah with expectation and longing. Their longing and waiting continued.
And, Advent is not the only season where we may be in a place of waiting or longing. The deep desire for God’s direction, wisdom and guidance in our lives are things we find ourselves seeking in many seasons. Turning to our congregation—no moment, no interaction and no word of encouragement or a shared hug or smile between Sisters and Brothers in Christ in any of these seasons is wasted.
Jesus did not come to save us just once. We are renewed hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year, if we seek Him no matter what season we’re in (Romans 12:2). We must have the patience to let our faith, and the seeds of our hearts grow and develop in God’s perfect time. We are to remain steadfast even in the winter (Galatians 6:9).
Hillsong Church recorded a tune “Seasons” with a refrain that rings true to us: “God can see our promise, even in a winter, because He’s the God of greatness even in a manger, for all we know of seasons is that He takes His time, He could have saved us in a second, and instead He sent a child.” (Lyrics lightly adapted for clarity).
In our seasons of personal winters, of waiting, of longing, we can have great hope and assurance that the seeds of faith buried within us are buried to grow. And, we can trust that they will grow in perfect timing with His will. They will grow from the good soil of our hearts that we’ve tilled, watered, cultivated, prayed over and allowed the Holy Spirit to tend. When the time comes, the seeds of faith within us will grow into towering Sequoias. As with the Sequoia, great faith in our life does not grow into fullness quickly.
No matter how long the winter, the season of waiting, may seem, we are promised that Jesus will come. Therefore, the time spent in prayer, in the study of the Word, in worship, in listening and sharing is God’s plan, as He grows us into mighty Sequoias of faith that will provide a place of rest and respite for other travelers on their winter journeys.