On the first day of Advent, I awoke to a call at 3:20 a.m. that I should come to the hospital because my daughter was being taken down to deliver Lila—my first grandchild! I had been first alerted to her early arrival two days before when Rachel's water broke, but not much labor. I arrived in Birmingham seven and a half hours later (it would have been sooner but there wasn’t a direct flight!). And then...we waited. We waited on Lila’s lungs to respond to a couple of steroid shots (she was three weeks early). As we waited, we halfway watched football and occasionally made small talk about subjects other than Lila’s birth; but mainly we carried on just wishing, wondering and thinking we could plan for the time that Lila would arrive based on the medical advice we were given. All we could think about was what we were waiting for, our baby girl to come into the world.
While waiting on Lila, a code blue was called to her room; then the number was changed to the room next door. We Grandparents huddled and prayed for the baby hoping it wasn't ours but doing the only thing we could do while we waited. Now, we were waiting and shedding a few tears and offering more intense prayers. The waiting got rocky at this point. We didn’t know, and we had no way of finding out for sure. My devotional thought for the day was: received a faith as precious as ours (2 Peter 1:2). In those moments of not knowing if our 3-week-early baby, whose mother's water had broken 40 hours earlier, was in trouble, I had a faith as precious as ours. My sister-in-law texted me that she was praying; she didn’t need to know the inner struggle at this point, but I was so grateful for that text that confirmed a precious faith. As time went on with no news, we were able to confirm that our baby was just taking a few hours to push out into the world so we waited with deeper relief. I decided to write my Tea Time for Your Soul for Advent 2 while I waited.
I was literally writing this post when my son-in-law walked out, tears flowing down, to bear the great news of her healthy birth and healthy mom and beautiful baby. The wait was over. It wasn’t four Sundays of Advent, rather a 40-hour journey, but it was filled with all the ups and downs and mundane moments of life.
This most recent experience of intense waiting challenges me and reminds me that waiting is what my life with God is all about. I’m challenged because I have never had the experience of not being able to get His return for me off my mind as I did waiting on my first granddaughter. I’m reminded that waiting is what life is about. I’m grateful that God was with me, steadying me in the wait as He does every day that I wait for His return. I want to learn to wait in the same way Paul did, thinking about it every day as he revealed to Timothy and all of us in 2 Timothy 4:8:
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Advent re-orientates our souls to what our lifetimes are all about—waiting. The gift of Advent is an annual practice of waiting.