The Paradox of Waiting, Wondering, and Wandering: Embracing A Deeper Meaning of Advent
The word "Advent" holds a depth of meaning that resonates deeply with the human experience of waiting, wondering, and wandering. It is a season of anticipation, introspection, and a yearning for something more. Within this liminal space, we find ourselves grappling with questions like "Why is there so much
darkness in my world right now?" and "Where is God in my struggles?" These are not simply idle inquiries, but rather, cries of the heart yearning for understanding and solace. In the face of darkness and uncertainty, Advent offers the following inspiration providing glimmers of hope, joy and peace that can better navigate us through our waiting, wondering and wandering in our personal wilderness within and the world around us.
Advent invites us to embrace the waiting. It is not a passive act of stagnation, but a conscious decision to hold on to hope in the midst of uncertainty. Just as the Israelites waited for the Promised Land, we too wait for the fulfillment of God's promises, for the arrival of His light in a world shrouded in darkness. This waiting requires patience, faith, and a willingness to trust in God's timing, even when it feels unbearable.
The darkness of waiting often fuels our wondering. Just as Mary pondered or wondered about the mysteries of her immaculate conception, the uncertainty of her future, and the prophecy told her about her son, we too may question our purpose, our place in the world, and even the existence of God. These questions are not signs of weakness or doubt, but rather opportunities for deeper exploration and spiritual growth. As we wonder, we embark on a journey of self-discovery, allowing God to reveal His truth and illuminate the path forward.
We may also find ourselves wandering through life's challenges and uncertainties. This wandering is not a sign of being lost, but a necessary part of the journey. In the wilderness, we encounter our vulnerabilities, confront our limitations, and discover our resilience. It is through this process of wandering that we learn to rely on God's guidance and depend on His grace.
How Can We Embrace the Paradox?
The beauty of Advent lies in its embrace of the paradox. It is a season of hopeful waiting that prepares us for an arrival, a time of peacefully wondering that opens us to truth, and a period of joyfully wandering that leads us closer to God. As we journey through this sacred space, let us remember that we are not alone. Even in the darkness, God is present. His word is a lamp guiding our steps and illuminating light to our path. (Psalm 119: 105)
Therefore, Whether you face personal challenges, difficult decisions in your work and ministry, or societal issues that leave you feeling helpless, the darkness is a place where God can meet you. Let us not fear the waiting, the wondering, or the wandering. Instead, let us see them as opportunities for growth, transformation, and a deeper connection with the divine. And as we eagerly await the coming of Christ, ponder how together, we can practice the following exercises of walking daily in the present, seeking His presence in every moment and spreading His light wherever we go.
Embrace the darkness:
Don't be afraid to acknowledge your fears and doubts. Bring them to God in prayer and meditation. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to His guidance. Remember, He already knows the depth of your darkness and is waiting to bring you into His light.
Seek God's presence:
Immerse yourself in His word, spend time in prayer, and open your heart to His love. One great resource recommendation is Through the Word https://throughtheword.org. The closer you draw to Him, the brighter the light within you will shine, illuminating your path and guiding you through the wilderness.
Shift your focus from your own struggles to the needs of those around you. Find ways to use your gifts and talents to bless others. Acts of service not only bring joy to others but also deepen your own faith and remind you that you are not alone in your journey.
Take time each day to reflect on the blessings in your life, even amidst the challenges. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude opens your heart to receive more blessings and reminds you that God is faithful even in the darkest moments.
Hold onto hope:
Never lose sight of God's promises. He has a plan for your life, and He will bring you through the darkness into His light. Trust in His goodness and believe that He is working out His perfect will in your life.
Surround yourself with other Christian leaders who are walking through their own wildernesses. Share your struggles, encourage one another, and learn from each other's experiences. This sense of community will strengthen your faith and provide you with the support you need to persevere.
In closing, remember the words of Oswald Chambers, “It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God…” My Utmost For His Highest, July 28. This Advent season, embrace the wait, wonder at His love, and trust that He will use your wanderings to bring forth His amazing plan for your life and for the mission He has entrusted to you.
May this Advent season be a time of profound reflection, renewal, and anticipation as we journey together towards the light, guided by the hope of His coming.
Blessings and prayers,