Sunday, December 7, 2008

little reminders

I took another sip of coffee relishing the moment. It was about nine in the morning, and I sat there on the living room floor in my purple fleece pajamas. Brianna sat next to me in her blue flannel pajamas with her cup of hot apple cider. In college and seminary, finding us with pjs and a warm beverage was not uncommon. However, since moving back to the Midwest these moments were a rare privilege. We sat there reflecting on the past ten years. Long had it been a dream of Brianna and her husband Nathan to serve overseas. And, after completing their degrees at Northwestern College and then Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, they had moved to a small town in southern Iowa. It was here that they practiced the theories and philosophies they had gained in their classes. We laughed thinking about all that had changed: our clothing styles, our vocabulary, our favorite authors. We praised God as we thought of all that had grown: our character, our understanding of Scripture, my call to the American church, and her dream of serving the Khmer people. She began telling me a story of an older woman. Her name was Helen. Recently, Helen walked up to Brianna and told her that she had had a dream about this young couple and felt confident that the Lord was asking her to support their work in Cambodia. We grew quiet for a moment as we both realized this was a little reminder of God’s having already paved the way for them.

During the past year, Nathan and Brianna had been accepted by OMF International. And, they were now preparing for the next step in their journey. Finally, their desire to serve overseas was almost tangible. And, with expectant hope, they waited on the Lord. They waited for Him to bring in the support they needed. They waited for opportunities to speak in different congregations and for more hits on their website. Some days the monotony of waiting was almost overwhelming. They continued to be certain the Lord was calling them to Cambodia, but some days it has seemed like an impossible task to actually live their way into the dream. And, it’s days like these, when morale is low, hearts are heavy, and a sense of hopelessness is in the air that the Lord gives them a little reminder. A little reminder so that we don’t forget that the Lord is moving. He is the one readying Nathan and Brianna as well as the Khmer people. He is the one raising their support. He is the one who is removing the obstacles from their path. And, He is the one who pours expectant hope into our hearts. And while we wait, we watch as God moves.

About 2500 years ago, the voice of the Lord was silent. He promised that a redeemer was coming, but as the Israelites waited, their morale grew low, their hearts grew heavy, and a sense of hopelessness was in the air. 400 years went by, and they were still waiting in the silence. A man named Simeon would not lose hope, however. Day after day he waited with expectation for the redeemer who was yet to come. And, one day, in the midst of a crowd at the temple, the Lord sent him a little reminder that He was indeed moving. A little reminder in the form of an infant.

As people of God, He has given us little reminders, too. Little reminders that we rehearse again and again in Advent. Little reminders that tell us He is indeed readying all of us for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, some days the monotony of waiting is almost overwhelming. And, some days it seems like an impossible task to actually live our way into the dream. So when morale is low, our hearts are heavy, and a sense of hopelessness is in the air, may we not forget that the Lord is indeed moving. He is bringing good news to the poor, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming freedom for the captives, and releasing prisoners from darkness. He is comforting all who mourn, and providing for those who grieve. And these little reminders are what give us a tremendous sense of hope as we, too, wait for the coming of the Lord.

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