Hurry up and wait sounds like a contradiction but actually it is a phrase that is used frequently in aviation. A couple weeks ago, my pilot husband told me about how he got in line to take off to come home but then had to wait another 45 minutes before actually taking off. It was important for him to be alert and ready in the midst of his waiting. When it was his time, he needed to be ready to take off. He explained that a lot of flying has to do with hurrying up and waiting. The hurrying up has to do with being ready to do the next thing, being on top of his check lists. The waiting could be for passengers, his plane to be fueled, or even for his turn to take off.
These days it seems that my life includes a lot of waiting but in the midst of the waiting I need to be alert. I need to hurry up and wait. Or in other words, I need to be ready for the next thing. On a small scale, our program is waiting on flight permissions, but it is an active waiting as our leadership is involved in meetings and our other guys are making sure we are ready to go as soon as the dotted line is signed. We are alert. We are not just twiddling our thumbs. Sometimes though, just like waiting to take off, it seems like the waiting will never end. Will we ever get to take off? Will we ever get permissions.
On a larger scale, we are waiting for Christ's return. No one knows the time or the hour when he will appear in those clouds for us. We wait with anticipation and alertness. Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25 about 10 virgins with oil lamps that were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were considered foolish because they neglected to buy extra oil. The other five were wise as they brought along extra oil. These last five were alert and ready as they waited for the bridegroom to arrive. The waiting was much longer than expected leaving the five foolish virgins unready for the bridegroom. In the end, the foolish five missed out on even seeing the bridegroom. In verse 13, Jesus says, "So you too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return." We are to hurry up and wait. We need to be ready for when our Bridegroom comes.
It is so easy when we are in a season of waiting to put our life on hold. It is tempting. Believe me. Maybe I should wait to work on language after we have permissions. Or maybe I shouldn't invest too deeply in those around me since it might not work out, and I might have to leave. The thing is God is in the waiting. He meets us there. He meets us as we continue in faith to do the things he has called us to do even when we don't know the future. He meets us in those people that we invest in even if it is just for a season. This is part of my hurry up-doing life and living each day.
Waiting is hard but also a blessing. Waiting often gives us extra time with our Savior. Waiting lets us step back and see our life from a different perspective. But mostly waiting reminds us that we are not in control. God is. Advent is a season of waiting in anticipation for our Savior. Just as Anna and Simeon waited while clinging to God's promises of a Savior, may we wait clinging to those promises of His second coming and continuing His work on this earth. May we wait with alertness, ready to see God work and asking us to join him. May we hurry up and wait.