Watching and Waiting…in Desperation

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4

Today begins Advent. It is a time of preparation – preparation for celebrating the birth of a Savior. But it’s not usually (at least in the Bible) a time of peaceful and quiet preparation. It involves desperation…. and waiting….and darkness…..and more waiting.

Have you ever felt desperate? I mean, ….. really desperate? have you ever felt the stress of your own helplessness while waiting for some result or report? Have you ever paced the halls of a hospital during a surgery…. waiting for a report of the outcome from a doctor? Have you ever wondered how you’ll be able to pay your bills this month?

Our text today in Isaiah 64:1-9 is a prayer – a lament in which the prophet cries out to God in frustration and desperation. Here is a brief summary of that prayer and cry for help:

Come Down and Do Something! (verses 1-4)

The prophet cries out – “Please come down and DO something! Make your name known among all people. You’ve worked miraculously on our behalf many times in the past! Please do it again NOW. You’ve promised to do this on behalf of those who wait for you.”

We Need Forgiveness and Healing (verses 5-7)

The prophet’s prayer changes as he considers the peoples’ complicity in their desperate situation. “You’ve taught us the right path to walk – but we haven’t been able to follow that road. You were angry with us when we sinned. Even when we try to be good and righteousness – it all just adds up to filthy rags. No one calls on you anymore for help or guidance. We can see that we are part of the problem. We are complicit in the present state of affairs.”

Look Upon Us. We’re Watching and Waiting for You (verses 8-9)

The prayer concludes with a reminder and final plea: “Yet, You are our Father! We’re the clay and You’re the potter. Mold us anew into what you would have us be! Don’t forget us. Remember that we are your people – your loved children!”

So we’re waiting in the dark…in desperation. Maybe we can’t sleep. Maybe our child is sick. For you, what is the darkness you feel at this season? Loneliness? A broken relationship? A depression that you can’t make go away? A financial crisis? A virus that has disrupted our entire society? A nation that is completely polarized politically?

Perhaps we could try the posture of Isaiah today:

  • Pray earnestly, asking God to Come Down and Do Something!
  • Realize that we, too, are part of the problem. We have sinned. We don’t deserve God’s salvation. We need healing and forgiveness.
  • Remind God that we are His. Look upon us. We’re waiting for you.

As we sit in darkness, and maybe even experience desperation… we know that the light is coming. The light of the world that will turn our darkness and desperation into new light and hope. “Lord, help us to believe that you will work on our behalf…”