Advent, week 3 // Though it tarry

In a season known for its hustle and bustle, the idea of waiting may feel a bit dissonant. But as we learn from the book of Habakkuk, and from celebrating Advent year after year, our questions aren’t always answered in the way – or in the timeframe – we think they should be. In Habakkuk 2, God makes a promise about a brighter future, a new vision that was on its way. This sounds like a hopeful response to Habakkuk’s many doubts and questions – until we get to the second half of verse 3:

“Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

-Habakkuk 2:3, KJV

Though it tarry… it will not tarry. If I were Habakkuk, a response like this from God would likely have frustrated me. After pouring out his heart to God, this was the response? An ironic, contradictory statement that seems to mock how difficult waiting actually is?

But these phrases side by side remind us, remind me, of something critically important: Our timing is not necessarily the Lord’s timing. And his ways are so much better than ours.

There have been many times I’ve wondered why God wasn’t doing something on my behalf. Why he was seemingly silent. Why something I had been so sure of was suddenly delayed. I thought it must mean I had done something wrong to deserve his silence. But Advent is the perfect time to remember that the responses “wait” and “not yet” are not a deflection because God is uncertain. They aren’t buying him time while he figures things out. They are not punishment.

Rather, the command to “wait” is often a promise of something greater to come. It’s a defining moment in which we can decide if we’re willing to surrender our own agenda. It’s a chance for us to lay down the expectations we had and identify where we’ve turned timelines into idols.

According to our timeline, it’s delayed. It’s too late. It’s never happening. It’s not worth waiting for. It must not be what God wants for me. I must not be deserving.

According to God’s promise, he is right on time. A new vision is coming. It’s beyond what we could think to ask for in this moment. Though it feels delayed in our human minds, it’s coming at the perfect time – the appointed time, as Habakkuk 2:3 says. And it’s worth the wait. 

God’s timing is always based on his wisdom, not on our worry. On his sovereignty and not on our stress level. And thank goodness for that! How many times would I have rushed ahead with my own plans and missed the “something greater?” Slowing down is a form of surrender.

And Advent is just that an opportunity to slow down and surrender our timelines to the one who created time. A chance to remember that often before the promise comes the preparation.

This is the heart of the Advent season. Learning to wait well, fighting our inclination to rush ahead, and trusting in the Lord’s timing above all else. It doesn’t always make sense. But though it tarry, it will not tarry. Though it feels delayed, it’s right on time. So, wait for it.

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