Updated: Aug 3, 2022
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6 NIV)
In this season of Advent, we often forget that this is a time of waiting. Jesus’ traditionally observed birthday hasn’t happened yet (it’s on December 25!), but everyone is already wishing each other a “Merry Christmas” and singing songs like “Joy to the World” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” It’s still time to be preparing for such things. As far as the Christian calendar goes, we’re putting the cart before the horse. We’re just a little bit astray.
No, we’re not straying like the Israelites were when Isaiah prophesied the above words, but we’re still missing the mark. Are we waiting, or are we just celebrating? Are we doing things our way, or God’s? It’s good to take a breath and think about what we’re doing, or trying to do, and ask ourselves if this is right. Are we doing this or that for the right reasons? Is this going to benefit me, or others? Is it God’s will? Would Jesus be pleased with my actions? Is my way the right way? Sometimes the answers are clear, but other times, they’re a little murky.
I have often said that God always answers prayers. We tend to use the term “answered prayer” to mean that God essentially granted our wish or said “yes.” But God also answers prayer with “no” and “wait.” We may not like those answers, but they are indeed answers. If we think of God only answering prayer in the affirmative, it would just be another way of us going astray.
Honestly, I think “wait” is God’s favorite answer to our prayers. It’s in waiting that we get to learn who we are, or who we ought to be, or who God is molding us into. It was in waiting that I was prepared for the miracle of IVF after 5 long years. I knew I was meant to become a parent, but WHEN? It was agony. Don’t get me wrong, it was worth it, but I still have a lot of emotional baggage from it.
As for straying, yes, I’ve sometimes tried to do things MY way instead of God’s. I’ve also tried doing things the same old way, only to find they don’t work anymore. I’m pregnant again (yay!), and I thought it would be similar to last time. Instead, it’s been torture since the very day after the embryo transfer (we did IVF again). I’ve had heartburn so badly that I’ve woken up choking in the middle of the night. My morning sickness has been so bad, I finally asked my midwife for Zofran (it hasn’t worked). My sinuses are so swollen, I am constantly out of breath. And then there’s the sleep I’m not getting! And the fact that I already felt her kicking around 10 weeks (yes, it’s a girl, and that was 4 weeks ago!). I’m going to have to do this the way that God wants me to. But I have a feeling it’s just reminding myself that we desired another child, and it’s happening, and she’ll totally be worth it. And she is! I’m going to remind her of that every day of her life when she’s born.
In the verse prior to “we all, like sheep,” above, Isaiah says that “by his wounds we are healed.” No matter what we say or do, Jesus has our back. By him, we’re set right. Yes, we can go ahead and celebrate before the party. But I still don’t think that we should forget to wait and prepare! I’ve got 6 more months of waiting to meet this kid who is growing inside me. She’s not here yet. I can’t go saying that I have a daughter already, as much as I want to. But believe me, I can stay on this path, and with God’s help, I’ll be able to prepare myself, my family, and my house for the addition!