Why I’m Waiting
Why I’m Waiting
The past few weeks have been marked by a sense of waiting and anticipation. As the Church, we are in the middle of the season of Advent–a word that means arrival. It is the season that celebrates the anticipation of the birth of Jesus.
For many of us, this season is marked by the anticipation of other things: Christmas celebrations, presents, family, hot cocoa, cookies, and friends. In the midst of the holiday hubbub, it’s easy to forget that there is something greater coming.
Our waiting is not symbolic of Israel’s waiting as they longed for their king. Our waiting is as real as theirs, but oftentimes, it is drowned out by the longings of our worldly desires. These past few weeks, I have been reminded how real my waiting is.
My husband, David, and I attend Crossroads Church in Cincinnati where, every year, we host an amazing Christmas show. It is a free event with the quality of a Broadway production. Over 100,000 people see this event each year. The name of the show? Awaited.
From the first notes in the opening song to the concluding crescendo, this production magnifies Israel’s longing for the promised king. But for me, it stirs something else.
As I listen to the opening lines and the soft, playful melody, my heart begins to ache. I experience a very real and palpable longing for the King who is promised to us today. These first few lines of the song were written to speak for Israel, but for me, these words are the cry of my soul.
Everybody knew the King was coming soon.
When’s He gonna come?
When’s He gonna make His move?
So long we’ve been waiting.
This season, my longing for our King’s return has been magnified by another experience.
Last week, a friend invited me to hear Christine Caine speak at a local church. If you’re not familiar with Christine, she is a five-foot-nothing, dynamite preacher. She’s the author of several books, including Unashamed, and is the founder of The A21 Campaign, an anti-human trafficking organization.
When Christine finished blowing us away with her preaching, she told us a bit about A21. Let me prepare you; what I am about to share is disturbing, but it needs to be repeated.
If I am being honest, I am a person who struggles with empathy. I don’t typically “feel” for people. I’m not emotionally weighed down by other people’s burdens. It is not very often that my heart “breaks” for someone else. But when it does… it breaks hard.
Christine told us about these nightmarish places called carousel brothels where a series of rooms are separated by thin pieces of cloth. There is a man in each room. A girl is tossed into the first room. The man gets 15 minutes to do whatever he wants. Then, the girl is thrown into the next room for the next man. And the next. And the next.
I wanted to vomit.
Then she told us that (as you may expect) these girls often end up pregnant. When they do become pregnant, the girls are sent to, what amounts to be, an “infant farm,” where they give birth. Then, these newborn babies are sold into pedophile rings.
Even now, I can hardly write these words. I feel physically ill over the nightmare these girls call their life.
A weighty darkness settled on my shoulders for the remainder of the evening and into the next morning. I was angry and sad and confused. How can this world be so tragically dark and broken? How did we become this depraved?
But like a candle piercing the night, my despair was soon replaced by hope as I read that day’s Advent reading.
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
and singing and joy!…
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.” (Isaiah 35:1,2,3-4)
When I read these words, my sense of longing and anticipation was intensified. Our God is coming to destroy our enemies! He is coming to save us! The King is coming soon!
My eyes fill with joyful tears as I imagine those violated girls crushing the powers of darkness with their feet. One day they will stand with faces lifted and hands raised high in victory. Their day will come! And so will yours.
Make no mistake, Advent is not a season to remember a longing; it is a season of active longing, and it should be celebrated year ’round.
To all the captives who are oppressed by darkness, I pray you hear these words. I whisper them for you.
“Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you. Your King is coming soon.”
Maranatha. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
If you’d like to join me in making a donation to A21 (an organization that rescues girls from sex slavery), you can do so here.