Do the math on that for a second. Five people, four under 10 and the baby counts as two, especially after waffles and syrup. I get the kids showered and dressed, giving me exactly 13 minutes to shower and get ready. Talk about a marathon. At 9:07 everyone is in the car. But my van is furiously groaning against my turning the key. The window was inadvertently left in the down position and will not roll up. I have to run into the house three times (diaper bag, office keys, bible). Lucas says "Mom! We're late." Yes I know.
We back out. The garage door opener won't work. So I jump out of the vehicle, run to the opener by the door, hit the button, do the "laser beam jump" so the garage door will stay closed. Fail. Door starts to open back up, run back to the button, "laser beam jump"...and the garage door stays down. I get in the car, slam the door, with snow blowing through my open window and seriously consider piling out the van and skipping church. I work there. In 5 ish years I can count on my hands how many times I've missed. The temptation was huge this morning to say "forget it..." or something similar that may not be blog appropriate.
But, I back out. We go. I took a Instagram selfie of us because Jeff does it every week and he deserved the pleasure of knowing he can actually say "Ha! you see!!!" But that's not the point of the post. (Thanks, though, honey, for getting the kids to church every Sunday when I leave early!)
We make it to church, drop the boys off at Praise Team and I slip in to the last half of the service. I found a place at the table way in the back and figured I could just chill and take it in. The first words I heard of the sermon. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Hmmm. Good start. I knew I was going to be in service for the whole service at 11, so I decided to just meditate (code for zone out the rest of the sermon).
But at 11, I was prepared. I knew that pastor had something good to share based solely on those powerful words from Romans. While we were still sinners, Christ died. For you. For me...I wondered where he was going with this message.
We're in the season of Advent. This season of the church calendar is marked by waiting, by great expectations of what God is going to do. We wait on the Lord. We wait for this gift, the unspeakable joy of Christmas. At the same time, our church is in a season of waiting. We have endured a long, bumpy road the past two years. We're weary.
Truth is, Jeff and I are also in a season of waiting. We're discussing, praying, asking, wondering when the right time is to make a move, to act, to face discernment head on. We've asked over and over again "is this the time? Is it now? Or later? Did we miss it? Are we hearing God speak or are we following our own will and ways? This season of waiting is filled with restlessness and total certainty that we are not totally certain of anything.
While we were sinners, Christ came to this world. While we were lost, desperate,questioning, wondering. God worked.
And it's in that moment, as our pastor addresses waiting - of Advent, for Elizabeth, how God used the period of waiting, what God has in store for each of us individually, for our church, for my family - that the hustle and bustle, half done hair, thrown on t-shirt, broken window, forgotten diapers and lost hat - was totally worth it. In this moment I am grateful for the Word of God. I am overcome with joy that our God's word is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. I am so blessed to go to church and hear the pastor boldly proclaim that it is sin that separates us, it is sin that keeps us separate, and it's in the midst of that sin that God penetrated the world and sent his son. While we were waiting, while we were wallowing, while we were lost and broken...he moved.
Pastor shared that when we are unsure and in our period of waiting, we look for God's cues. We look for God's cues that all the pieces are in place for something amazing to happen. Look for the cues that reveal that now is the time you are going to meet your God. Now, when life is in pieces is the time that you will meet your God. It is when life is in pieces, when there are too many questions to count and not enough answers to satisfy that God's word reminds us to return to Him and he will return to us. It's in those times of hectic, those times of crazy mornings, those seasons of discernment and restlessness that God speaks. He reminds us to return to him.
Get in the car with your family, your broken relationship, your teen with an attitude, your stress about work, your doubt that he's good... and return to him. Join others who are just like you, struggling in the same boat, asking the same questions and worship the one who promises that in our sin, he is with us. In our return - our confession and acknowledgement that we need him - he returns to us. He shares his word, it speaks to us and it reminds us that we can meet with him. There is nothing better than meeting our awesome God. Thank you, Jesus!