Waiting is more than just standing in line at the supermarket wishing everyone would hurry a little bit. That can be annoying, but at least there is an end in sight. Waiting in a much deeper sense is enduring suffering, wondering when help will arrive. That's the situation the prophet Isaiah is sent to speak about in our Old Testament scripture this weekend. In the midst of exile, stuck in a far off land, the people of God are trapped in a generations-long wondering about when, or if, any help will come to them. There they sit on the edge of despair as a conquered people without power, strength, will or resolve to change their fortunes.
We all know something like this. Trapped between what we wish and what we experience, stuck with the knowledge that we lack the power to make things as we like. Yes, we don't like to admit it and we do a marvelous job convincing ourselves that there is something better just over the horizon – if just we could make it that far. "Just put one foot in front of the other and we'll make it there together" is our hope until even those hopes are dashed. A crushing disease, or a terrible accident? Enormous expectations, or unrelenting abuse? When there is no hope left in us, then who will come and help? What shall I cry?
This is Advent, when those who wither like grass wait upon and watch for the coming of Christ Jesus, as we hear God speak to the stuck, trapped, and oppressed, "Comfort. Comfort. Comfort. I am coming for you."
Pastor Lars Olson