Silent Night

Patience is not a strong suit for humans. I experience this every day. Every Sunday, I take one boy with me to get a donut and spend a little time with me before church begins. (As a bonus, they get to spend time with Judy Hagman, which is the true high point of their morning.) With three boys, the rotation is almost too long for them to bear. Theo manages the wait well because he understands the process. On the other hand, Milo really struggles, and for three weeks straight, he will ask every day if it is his turn to “Get donut?”
This scenario demonstrates that waiting is a part of maturing. The older we get, the better at waiting we should become. As we age, the way we experience time seems to speed up. This is partly due to the fact that we are able to wait and endure at a more experienced pace. My boys have been checking “How many days until Christmas?” for about two weeks.
Meanwhile, I know when it will arrive and hardly pay it glancing thought. I know that checking progress on the calendar does not speed it up or slow down the holiday’s arrival. Therefore, I can wait because it will get here when it gets here. 
The book of Lamentations is a reflection of the sorrow of God’s people. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and took many of its inhabitants from their homes. The people of Judah have become wandering captives, and there is little comfort or solace for their grieving. Amid this doom and gloom, sorrow, and misery, the writer reflects that, regardless of circumstances, patiently waiting for God’s salvation is the most reasonable action because of the goodness of God’s character. 
Lamentations 3:25-33 – “The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. 27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: 28 Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD’s demands. 29 Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. 30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. 31 For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. 33 For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.”
The writer of Lamentations gives three primary reasons to trust in God: 
·       God does not abandon anyone forever.
·       God’s unfailing love.
·       God does not enjoy hurting anyone or causing sorrow. 
Because of these realities, the writer asserts that the best thing we can do is wait. Waiting can be extremely frustrating. When I tell my boys to be patient, it drives them crazy, but sometimes we must wait for God.
There is not a lot we can do, and so we wait. Some adjectives denote this waiting; the text instructs us to wait quietly and silently. In the case of Lamentations, it carries the connotation of meditating on why you are in this position; for that, they are bearing the consequences of their actions. Sometimes, we also must accept that our actions have put us in a tough position. Acknowledging this does not excuse us from hardship; rather, it helps to put us in a proper perspective. Still, we wait quietly in anticipation of deliverance.  
Relief is what ultimately drives those who are waiting on God, the understanding that there is salvation ahead. The writer here says to wait with our face down in the dust. To properly esteem our position in light of God’s glory, and this is what will provide us hope. It is not the action of waiting that provides deliverance; it is also not my proactivity; it is the recognition of who God is and accepting that He will care for those who depend on Him.  
The original readers of Lamentations did not experience a restoration from their exile. They remained in a foreign land for the rest of their lives. Although this could be discouraging, it should not keep us from relying on God. For us to trust in God is a benefit; it renews our strength and restores our souls in ways that personal reliance cannot touch. 
Waiting in silence reminds me of a night when all of creation eagerly awaited the moment God would put on flesh and walk among us. And although waiting is hard, God did this in the perfect time. As Paul writes:
 Galatians 4:4-5 – “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and daughters.”
No amount of calendar counting, or eager anticipation could change God’s perfect timing. Those are principles far about our influence or pay grade. Humanity, like the rest of creation, is bound to trust in God and wait for Him and His salvation in our own Silent Night. 

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