SINGAPORE—Last night felt surreal. Like a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie, a fabulous hotel room in a vibrant Asian city, looking out at fantastic view through floor-to-ceiling windows. It wasn’t quite a blanket of stars above me, but there I was, tucked under the covers, mesmerized by Singapore’s bright lights glimmering in the dark, lulling me to sleep. I never felt more loved and grateful in that moment.
A few days earlier, one of the teams I was part of at work had won a prestigious global award, besting 40 other countries. What a privilege, and a humbling experience that was for me. My teammates had shown excellence every step of the way for a huge project that required tenacity, to ns of patience, grit and a whole lot of faith.
What a difference a year makes.
Exactly a year ago, my professional life in the corporate world had been in limbo when I found myself declared “redundant” by the company where I had hoped to retire. But such is life—the rug beneath me had been pulled. So I prayed, and discerned, and waited. And slowly, in that period of waiting, God sent angels who helped bring me where I am today.
Sounds easier than it was, but I can tell you now there were many sleepless nights, tossing and turning, but also trusting and praying. I share this story now, in this season of Advent, because similarly, I have many other friends who are now finding themselves in a season of waiting.
Some are waiting to heal from an illness such as cancer. Some await the release of a baby born ahead of its time, now in the nursery intensive care unit. Others are where I was a year ago—in search of a job; while others, due to necessity, are contemplating of moving homes. A few await in suspended animation for a diagnosis after surgery; others are waiting to heal from a loss, or wait for a loved one to come home. Waiting is always the most difficult part of any of any struggle, but really, it is in the waiting where our hearts expand. It is in that sacred space where we find our courage, and our faith grow.
What I’ve learned is that we need to be still in that space and allow our Father to do His work in us. I
stumbled upon a powerful prayer by French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “Above all, trust in the slow work of God,” and not to be impatient with finding out the results of whatever it is we are seeking. “Only God could say what this new spirit, gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense, and incomplete.”
Nothing is permanent, everything passes. In the space between what is, and what will be, God always sends His comfort, and His angels, and in that waiting we find hope.
In “My Advent Adventure,” Anne Lamott writes: “In Advent, we wait; and hope appears if we truly desire to see it. Maybe it’s in tiny little packets here and there, hidden in the dying grasslike winter wild flowers, but we find it where we can, and exactly as it comes to us, while the days grow dark. We remind ourselves that you can only see the stars when it is dark, and the darker it is, the brighter the light breaking through. Advent is about the coming of Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us,’ and so as the fields outside our windows go to sleep, we stay awake and watch, holding to the belief that God is with us, is close and present, and that we will be healed.”
Hope, and healing, and thanksgiving, that’s what this season is all about. “For unto us a child is born…” That is His promise, and His reminder that we are never alone, because there He is, He too, waits with us.
Wishing you all a blessed and meaningful Christmas!