Fall on Your Knees
Waiting is uncomfortable isn’t it? Our culture tends to avoid it at all cost. We have instant gratification at every turn. Even just now as I entered the coffee shop to work in a quiet place, I glanced across the room and every single person was looking at a smartphone or a tablet…even the people standing in line. We want everything accessible instantly at our fingertips. As much as I’ve tried to resist this, I’m guilty of it too. It’s hard to wait, and think, and listen, and be.
Yet the narrative of God’s story here on earth, and our spiritual journeys with Him are anything but instant gratification. Scripture is filled with stories of waiting. Noah, Moses, Job, Abraham & Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Hannah, David, Israel, Mary & Joseph, Paul, John…and those are just to name a few. In reality, every single one of our stories has experienced this at one point or another even if we have tried to avoid it.
When we look at our church calendar, what leads us up to our two most holy celebrations? Advent and Lent. These are, I think, two of the most significant seasons of the church and they are both a season of waiting. When we see the evidence of these rhythms, we must come to the conclusion that waiting is an important part of God’s work. We might ask, “Why?”
So many times God speaks to me through music. Again, this morning, I was listening to the age old classic, “O Holy Night”–really listening to the words. I was caught by the portion that rings out, “fall on your knees”. You can hear it, can’t you? That portion where the song takes it up a level and you feel yourself moved?
It occurred to me as I listened to–or felt–those words, that most of what God orchestrates in our lives is all about positioning us—positioning us toward Him. Forming us into His likeness. When we receive the greatest gift on earth, we imagine maybe leaping for joy, maybe we’re even tempted to brag about it? But here the song so accurately describes the rightful way to receive this gift—on our knees. Utterly humbled. Grateful to the depths. Speechless. Knowing we are undeserving. We are positioned to receive the gift of God with completely unencumbered hearts.
How does God get us to this place of true humility and gratitude? Often it is through waiting. Ah-hah! Now there it is. Could this be one of the reasons why God allows us–even asks us–to wait on Him? So that we can be formed and positioned by it?
The amazement of the shepherds outside of Bethlehem was amplified by a life of waiting. A life of slowness. A life often, based on their social and economic station, distanced far from much that could fulfill their desires and ideal dreams. Certainly these things didn’t come “instantly” to them, if at all. And here was a “thrill of hope” —the greatest gift imaginable, presented to them. To THEM! They were the ones who may have been the most ready to receive such hope. The waiting opened them to the ache. The ache opened them to the faith. The faith opened them to the joy. Therein is the treasure. And they “Fell on their knees”.
Waiting is not about being comfortable, and whether it sounds good to us or not, God is not really about our comfort. He is —Oh-so-about—our character. Our position. It’s only when we are positioned toward Him that we have the ability to truly receive with faith, humility, and true joy. And so I really believe, it’s not that He wants to cause us discomfort, it’s that He’s willing to allow us to be uncomfortable–to wait–so that we can rightly and fully receive His great and mighty gifts.
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