Reprinted from Advent Devotionals by Goshen College students, faculty and staff
By Bob Yoder, campus pastor
“Impatience” – the opposite of “patience.” I excel in the former, struggle with the latter. As a youngster, “impatience” described my demeanor towards the Christmas presents my parents would eventually reveal to me. They didn’t wrap our presents, but placed them on the dining room table covered with blankets. On Christmas Eve, we kids would see the “mound of mystery,” wondering what secrets the blankets concealed. Now that I am all grown up, I am so glad that I have graduated from “impatience” to “patience”! (The last sentence is to be said with a sarcastic tone.)
In a world of anxiety and fear, I get quite impatient with God at times, yearning for the hope to shine its light into the darkness. As I ponder our various global realities, I wonder where is the God for whom Isaiah calls out to “tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at [God’s] presence” (Isaiah 64:1) and the God for whom the Psalmist who cries “stir up your might, and come save us!” (Psalm 80:2)? As I reflect on the current affairs of my denomination, I wonder how Apostle Paul could confidently write “God is faithful; by him you were called into fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Corinthians 1:9) to a community of believers riddled with divisions? But then I am challenged by the words of Mark: “But in those days, after that suffering…Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory” (Mark 13:24, 26).
Is God’s power and glory truly “hope?” I want to believe that, but what if it comes in a form that I don’t like? What if God’s revelation is not something that I can agree with? Can it still then be “hope?”
O God, Revealer of Hope. Absolve my impatience and bolster my patience.