Day 13. Becoming through waiting


I am often terribly impatient. More often than I care to admit. 

I am guilty of multi-tasking, driving over the speed limit, reading a book when waiting in an office or line. I try to practice meditation, and some days I succeed, while most other days, I fail to settle down long enough to sit in stillness and waiting. 

I struggle to wait well. 

I have spent many hours in the living room of my friends from Syria, refugees who have been resettled to my city. I have heard a few of their stories of waiting. They have waited in a camp in Jordan, they have waited to hear good news regarding their relatives back home or resettled in other countries, they wait for their country to be peaceful, stabilized, and rebuilt. 

Their waiting comes without guarantee or expiration date. 

They wait, and yet…

They find the space for joy, hospitality, and faith. 

I sit in their living room and am welcomed with tea and snacks. 

We share meals together. 

I listen to the ways their faith sustains and nourishes them. 

They wait, and yet…

They create the space for compassion, generosity, and friendship. 

Together we have shared meals of Thanksgiving and Eid Al-Adha. 

Together we have played games, mourned loss, and exchanged gifts. 

In the Christian Scriptures, we find stories of long waiting…

  • Abram and Sarah wait 25 years for the promise of a child. (Genesis 12; 21)
  • David waits roughly 15 years for the promise of a kingdom and throne. (1 Samuel 16; 2 Samuel 5:4)
  • The Israelites wait roughly 400 years for God to speak again. (Jesus is born roughly 400 years after the events of the post-exilic book, Malachi.) 
  • Zechariah and Elizabeth wait nearly their entire lives for the chance to be parents. (Luke 1)
  • The Jewish people wait (and walk) 40 years to arrive at the Promised Land. (Amos 2:10; Nehemiah 9:21; Acts 7:36) 

And yet…

In the waiting, 
Abraham and Sarah become the ancestor’s of God’s people Israel. 

In the waiting, 
David learns about the political and social culture of the kingdom over which he will unite and rule. 

In the waiting, 
the Israelites learn about exile, and are prepared for an upside-down understanding of power. 

In the waiting, 
Zechariah and Elizabeth become parentally shaped to raise John the Baptist. 

In the waiting (and walking), 
The Jewish people learn what it means to be a people set apart and dependent upon the guidance of God. 

Waiting shapes us, 

and sharpens us, 

making us more sensitive 

to that which sustains us. 

Often waiting involves staring into the face of the unknown. 

And yet…

In the waiting, 

God is with us. 

With the refugee in the camp and in the uncertainty, 
God is with us. 

In the suffering and struggle of people’s oppressed and enduring, 
God is with us. 

In the grief and the loss, 
God is with us. 

As we wait, 

we learn to walk with the God who not only has, 

but will continue to 



and sustain us. 

God becomes a sanctuary, 

A rock upon which foundation is built, 

A hope upon which to stand. 

God becomes host, 

Providing for us along the journey. 

God becomes a guide and companion, 

Leading us footstep by footstep along the darkened path. 

In the waiting, we learn to walk. 

How we wait (and walk) determines where we will arrive. 

During Advent, we celebrate and remember the arrival of Christ, 

But what we embody during this season, 

Is the waiting. 

May it shape us into the people God is inviting us to become.

Stephanie headshot.JPG

Rev. Stephanie McKellar is a Deacon in the United Methodist Church, and works for the Missional Wisdom Foundation. Stephanie is passionate about pilgrimage, hospitality at the margins, community as an act of social justice, and learning the stories of immigrants and refugees. She has been a family mentor with the International Rescue Committee for a Syrian family, and has helped established Safe Spaces Lebanon, a nonprofit that works to provide for the educational and psychosocial needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.