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400 Years

“Lord give me patience and give it to me NOW!”

No one likes to wait. Today’s society values instant and on-demand. From microwaves to fast food, we are programmed not to wait.
If we are at the supermarket and the lines are long, we complain that the store really doesn’t care about their customers, otherwise they would open another check-out.
This month’s missional focus is compassion and kindness. How kind is it to test another’s patience by leaving them to wait? We are told that, between Malachi in the Old Testament and Matthew in the New Testament, 400 years passed; 400 years of waiting for God to act; 400 years of waiting for God to reveal Himself.
Have there been times in your life when you felt you were waiting for God?
That God had disappeared?
That He hadn’t heard you?
That He wasn’t going to answer?

It is in these times of waiting that our faith is tested.
The Psalmist David knew what it meant to wait on the Lord. Told when he was a teenager that he would be a king, he had to wait years for it to come to fruition. Yet he wrote, “I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.  Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14
What was God doing during those 400 years of silence? Had He forgotten His people? In hindsight, we can see that God was preparing the world for the blessing which would be His Son’s arrival.

This included:
1. The Jews had taught the concept of monotheism and the Old Testament Scriptures containing scores of prophecies regarding the Messiah.
2. The Greeks had provided a language that was the most precise instrument for the conveyance of human thought the world had ever known.
3. The Romans had given humanity a time of peace and marvellous transportation and communication systems.
The Bible says, “Just at the right time, God sent His Son, born into humanity to redeem humanity.” Galatians 4:4-5
For 400 years God was working for His people, He was thinking of them, loving them, and planning the best for them. Advent would occur when everything was right.
It might not feel that God is kind or compassionate when He makes you wait, when He doesn’t answer your prayers immediately. Your feelings that God has abandoned you do not change the fact that “nothing can separate you from the love of God.” Romans 8:39
As we enter December, let’s remember God’s blessing as we strive to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.’

Major David Oldford

Lord, give me the patience and faith I will need during periods of waiting.

Give me a spirit of anticipation and excitement for what You will reveal and do when You speak and act.

As Mary waited for the Gift growing inside her, let us cherish this time of waiting before Your blessing – this Advent.


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