I don't wait very well. I hate to wait in line for anything. But the worst kind of waiting is when I am not sure that what I am waiting for will ever happen. I had triple mini strokes a few months back. My surgeon, my rehab therapists and those who had had a similar surgery all promised that I would feel as good as new. A neighbor shared with me that he had a similar deal. He said one of the dangers of stroke surgery is depression." He might as well have said, "Ben needs to wait for his recovery with a sure and certain hope."
Luke quotes Isaiah who proclaimed to a people held captive in a foreign land for three generations, that they could now anchor their waiting in a sure and certain hope. There was a new emperor. Cyrus didn't know it, but he was Yahweh God's servant. "You can start packing," said the prophet. God is going to bring you back home.
On the second Sunday in Advent, we meet John the Baptist. John's mission was to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. His message? "All flesh shall see the salvation of God."
The people in John's day had "waiting depression." We often suffer from the same malady. Luke listed many of the enemies of the Lord's coming that can be historically verified. But John's message was a sure and certain hope. Jesus was born. Jesus died and was raised again. And Jesus is coming again.
Cure us, O Lord, from "waiting depression." Amen!
Luke 3:1-6 (NRSV)
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene,
2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5 "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth;
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"