Advent, Week 1, Wednesday – A Hard Wiinter Waiting

Wednesday, Week 1
A Hard Winter Waiting

Scripture Reading
Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18

1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
   you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim,(F) shine forth.
 2Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
 stir up your might
   and come to save us!
 3 Restore us,[a] O God;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved!
 4O LORD God of hosts,
    how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5You have fed them with the bread of tears
   and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
   and our enemies laugh among themselves.
 7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
   let your face shine, that we may be saved!
16They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;
   may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
17But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
   the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
18Then we shall not turn back from you;
    give us life, and we will call upon your name!

Psalm 80 in my Bible has the heading “A plea for the return of God’s favor”. The psalm is probably during a time of captivity and is a time when the favor of God seems gone and God seems silent. The psalmist asks for God to do three things that stand out to me. He asked God to “Shine Forth”, to “Restore”, and to “Revive”. Israel had a history of straying from God and then finding themselves in a dark place, out of  their proper relationship to God and in desperate need of being revived.

Christmas reminds me of  cold winter nights growing up north of Chicago and as a child going out into the first heavy snow. I was always impressed by two things, how white and beautiful it was and how quiet it made everything. In fact, I remember at times walking in the yard at my grandmothers and just stopping to listen – you could not hear such quiet without being impressed. The beauty of the snow would soon be tarnished by the salt and sand on the roads and soon it was actually ugly. On top of that the winter days would seem to continue forever, all gray and very seldom a sunny day. Everyone would have “cabin fever” and could not wait for the first really warm spring day. All the sudden everything would come to life – grass, trees and flowers would sprout, birds would sing and the sun – you just could not get enough of it. It was like being set free.

  Waiting for the spring was hard, because of the harshness and length of the winter. Although, I have to say that I am thankful for the spiritual winters God often has given me. Some of the loudest and clearest things God has spoken to me He has said in times of silence. Like the cold snowy nights of complete silence you find yourself able to hear without noisy distractions, and you seem to be able to see yourself as you really are in your relationship to Him. I think God loved Israel so much he allowed some hard, dark times when they surely wondered, where is God? We know from the scriptures that it was not God who moved away but they. Like Israel we can experience the same thing and find ourselves wondering where God is. I believe He never leaves us, but allows some times of silence that we might know that is only He who can Shine Forth, Restore our relationship with Him and Revive us.

Rich Steere

Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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