Do you ever go through seasons of your life where you feel like you’re just longing for something? All you can think about is what’s to come, and you feel disconnected from the right now? If your answer is anything but yes, you’re lying (that sounds super harsh, but I’m ok with it). Every single one of us goes through times in our lives where all we can do is look to the future.
This season of Advent has really gotten me thinking about what it means to be longing for something. In this season when we celebrate the coming of Christ– the longing the people who came before Christ felt for the coming Messiah– I find myself longing for so many things. Not only am I longing for Christmas Day– the excitement of presents, yummy food, and time with family– I am longing for so much more than that.
This Christmas season will be different for my family and me. My grandfather, Pappy, passed away this August, so this will be our first Christmas without him. I am so thankful for the time on earth I had with him and the incredible impact for Christ he had on my life. And I am so thankful that he gets to spend this Christmas celebrating with Jesus Himself! But I have found myself longing for Jesus to come back. I’m longing for Jesus to return for selfish reasons– so I can once again celebrate Christmas and worship Jesus with Pappy– but I am also longing for Jesus’ return for all of the people who are hurting and suffering. Christmas can be a tough time of year for those who have lost loved ones and those who cannot openly worship Christ and celebrate His coming. I am longing for the day when Christ returns to earth to repair things to their original design, to fix broken hearts, to heal the pain and suffering of this world, and to make things right again.
Yes, Advent is a time of longing for the coming of Christ, but this Advent season I’ve realized is a unique one for me. I am also longing for what God has for me in the near future. As y’all know, I am moving to Los Angeles (hopefully in the next few months!) to work in full-time ministry. More and more I find myself longing to be done raising support so I can move to LA and share the gospel with college girls. This season of raising support has felt like living in limbo for me– I’m no longer living in Hattiesburg, doing ministry there and living life with my friends there, but I am not yet living in LA doing ministry and life there. I was talking to my future LA roommate about this feeling of being caught between the past (living in Hattiesburg) and the future (living in LA), and then it hit me– that’s the definition of the present. Yes, I am currently living at home with my parents and my 18-year old sister, I don’t have a lot of friends here anymore, and the situation is less than ideal, BUT GOD has a purpose for me right here and right now. I don’t know how to, but I want to be present while I am at home. I want to be intentional with my family, with my sister, with my friends, and with anyone new I meet here. I want to learn from God and grow in my walk with Him. “Waiting is not just about what I get at the end of the wait, but it’s about who I become as I wait” (“The Unwelcome Gift of Waiting” on desiringgod.com). I may not know entirely how God is using and will use this time in my life, but I know He has a purpose for it and it will be good.
So as we continue on in this season of Advent, let us look to Jesus. Let us turn to Him to fulfill all of our hearts’ desires. Let us come to Him for all hope, joy, love, and satisfaction.
Lord, calm my anxious heart. Allow me to live fully in the present and learn and grow from what you have for me here and now. But most importantly, come, Lord Jesus, come.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9