I remember going to a camp once very shortly after my first profession of faith. Some of my friends and I were bedded down in sleeping bags in a large dining hall lit with old fashioned looking wagon wheel lights overhead. The first night I had a dream of heaven. The dream was very real, and as I remember it now, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and excitement that I “made it”! Yes, there was a bright, blinding light, and I knew that behind the glory of that light would be Jesus himself. I was so anxious to meet Him…to this day I remember that feeling!
Suddenly, my eyes flew open and I found myself looking at the lit wagon wheel light directly above me…the camp cook had come in early to start breakfast. Talk about disappointment.
I don’t think I will ever forget that dream, and I still look forward to heaven…more so now than 40ish year ago. My mind is tired and my body is showing its age. I yearn for renewal, the re-creation promised in the Bible. But more than that, I want to meet my Beloved Savior face to face, thank Him in person, and tell Him how much I love Him.
It’s been a long wait. An even longer wait from the night Jesus first visited the earth as Immanuel…longer still from the prophecy in Isaiah foretelling of His coming. Jesus brought the Kingdom of God with Him, but we are still waiting to see it completely revealed and fulfilled.
The verb ‘to wait’ means “to repose expectantly.” It’s not an empty passage of time, but a confident assurance that when the time is right, God will bring about all that He promised. Like a pregnant pause in literature or music, we wait expectantly for resolution when ALL will be redeemed (in the final sense). In the words of the great Christian writer Joni Eareckson-Tada:
"Even though our circumstances here on earth may be terribly difficult - or even overwhelming - God has given us something, Someone, to hang onto until He steps in to change our situation or take us home." (from Joni's book, "A Lifetime of Wisdom.")
The second Advent candle, the candle of Preparation, reminds me – lest I forget, which can be easy to do – that my waiting is not in vain. My soul, currently a captive to sin, and my body, apt to decay, will one day be restored to the full image God had in mind when He first envisioned me in His mind’s eye.
So why isn’t this candle called the candle of waiting? Because our waiting should not be stagnant. While I wait, I should be about preparing my heart to meet my Creator and the Lover of my soul. My soul is God’s business, but my heart is my own to mold in anticipation of that longed-for meeting.
Come, friends, let’s prepare for His coming! Christ the Messiah came as a babe…before too much longer, He will come as King.