December dawns with ice thick on the trees and my breath freezing on the scarf around my neck as I walk the trail out behind the house.
I don’t know how many footsteps I’ve taken over the past 4 months, walking the field behind us, but I still can’t get my fill of the horizon that stretches out long before me.
This past week, my footsteps were the first to mark the snow-covered path, and even with earbuds in and my dog in front of me, that pristine covering felt lonely and isolated – the longing to know that someone out there had walked ahead of me pressed in close.
The sun was already sinking as I headed back to warmth at 3:45 this afternoon, and as my feet moved swiftly south, I smiled at the hard packed snow underneath me, at those who passed me as our dogs greeted one another.
The path may appear “less traveled” at times, but it isn’t; and the footsteps of the faithful who have gone before us can help us find a sure footing for our own.
This first Sunday of Advent points towards Hope – and as I prepared the memory verse file for the Month of December, I found it fitting that the verses for this first week point our thoughts here.
The Hebrew word for hope in Psalm 119:49 is yachal and it points to the action of waiting; by implication, to be patient, hope:—(cause to, have, make to) hope, be pained, stay, tarry, trust, wait.
This whole season of moving to Canada has been marked by this – and while there has been much rest and healing, there has also been much wrestling on my part, a fight to surrender my expectations, hopes and fear at the unknown what’s next?
I was surprised to see another verse that uses yachal is Genesis 8:12,
Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.
For months Noah and his family were held together in the ark, not knowing where they would land, or when.
Over and over again he was called to wait, to tarry, to be patient, confined in a floating boat with 7 other people and restless animals – and it’s *this* word, waited, that paints understanding to the word hope.
You may find yourself in a similar position on this first day of December, as Advent unfurls before us, as our hearts long for Emmanuel to return to us to make all things right.
I think of Noah looking towards the sky, waiting for the dove to return, a hope rising that land was appearing and soon the ground beneath his feet would feel solid and firm. But his hope wasn’t in the landing place, it was in his Creator who had rescued him in such a tangible, tender way.
In this season of much stress and busyness, maybe you would like to join in with a small group of us memorizing the words of Psalm 119 together. You can begin right now, or start at the beginning – I’ll include links below this post. Let’s use our seasons of waiting to focus on Jesus and and let the hope we find in Him transform us in the stillness.
If we are bent on a mad tear through life, God will allow us that liberty, but He will not tear madly about with us. he will wait for us until we quiet down and wait on Him. Sometimes we are not interested in quietness until things have suddenly fallen apart or come to a screeching halt, and then, in the ensuing silence we know that we cannot cure our evils and neither is God going to cure them. What He has been waiting for is our attention, our eyes turned to Him who is the very Life of All Ages, the Light that our darkness can never overcome, Christ Himself, with us, in us, suffering, loving, and transforming us into the same image.The Music of His Promises pg. 13-14
~ Elisabeth Elliot
Lord Jesus, thank you for being our hope. Thank you that the waiting, through long and at times painful, can draw us closer to you, can transform our stubborn hearts into ones that bow low before you in trust and surrender. Thank you that *You* are our hope and that “this is the comfort in [our] affliction, that your promise gives [us] life.” Amen.
Psalm 119 links:
November – Review