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    Then They Remembered Jesus’s Words

    Jesus died around three in the afternoon (Luke 23:44–46). The faithful and courageous women disciples who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee—including his mother, Mary—stayed with him until he exhaled his last breath. Then they followed those who carried his body to the tomb to see where it was laid. After that they returned home to prepare aromatic spices and perfumes for anointing and preserving the body (Luke 23:55–56). How exhausted and devastated the women must have felt. We believed he was the Messiah! He was going to start a new kingdom. But we watched him die. He raised others from the dead so why did he let himself be crucified?…

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    Beauty in the Waiting

    Gray skies. Still, stiff air. Walking for miles with no end in sight. Waiting.  If you had to describe waiting in your own life, how would it look? Hurried and determined by nature, to me waiting feels like a long walk with no clear direction. I step out the front door on a dreary day and go, uncertain of where I’m going or when I’ll arrive. I know the walk is good for me—strengthening muscles and teaching me to trust. But I struggle to enjoy the journey. And I hesitate to trust the One guiding me throughout the twists and turns. I run ahead. I take a break. I struggle…

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    God is Not Slow, He is Patient

    Why do you take so long to act? Why are you so slow? I whined to the Lord as I settled into my folding chair at the local lake. Armed with my bag of books, journal, and Bible, I wasn’t leaving until I received an answer from the Lord. Not expecting an audible reply, I began my regimen of study and meditation. Some time later, two small girls and their grandmother caught my attention. I paused my journaling and watched them return to their car after swimming in the lake. The older girl quickly put on her shorts over her swimsuit and got in the car, but her little sister…

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    Stuck in the Waiting Room

    We all have spent a lot of time waiting since March 2020. Waiting for the end of lockdowns. Waiting for election results. Waiting for a COVID vaccine to be developed. Waiting to get a vaccine. I still wait to hug my oldest grandson. I’m eager to get back to face-to-face teaching of my refugee students. I wait to enjoy the sound of a roomful of women speaking Arabic, Amharic and other tongues while drinking tea and savoring walnut-filled pastries. And speaking of waiting, more than 79.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide wait for stable homes, according the UN Refugee agency. The dire circumstances of so many burden me. What do…

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    Waiting for Normal

    My husband and I put up our Christmas tree on October 25. Call us eager. And bored.   But despite all the glitter and music, the gifts and velvet bows, almost half of Americans wrestle through the holidays—even without a pandemic. Mental health workers say that some people get the holiday blues because there’s this perception and comparison of others having more and doing more. Enter 2020. Humpty Dumpty has fallen. It’s not just COVID cases that have surged. Loneliness, anxiety, and depression have also spiked this year. Weeks of waiting have turned into long months. Although Advent is the season of waiting, many could do without it by now—the…

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    When Prayers Go Long: Trusting God While We Wait for Answers

    The tired friend. The good father. The unjust judge. Jesus knew that persistent prayer takes grit. It wears down our give-it-to-me-now mentality. It raises hard questions. It takes an ever-growing faith. So he gave us some poignant pictures to keep us going. In all three of his parables on prayer, Jesus reminds us—keep asking, even when the waiting grows long and wearisome. Here are three lessons we can learn from Jesus’ parables: Pray with fearless abandon. When Jesus’ disciples asked for a lesson on prayer, he gave them a pattern to follow. Then he gave them two vivid pictures. In so doing he encouraged more that rote iterations. He wants…

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    Steps to a Calmer, More Christ-Focused Advent

    The word ‘advent’ comes from ‘ad’ meaning ‘to’ and from ‘vent,’ a form of a Latin word meaning ‘coming.’ Advent is the season when Christians look back on the first advent, or coming, of Messiah, and we look forward to the second advent—his return. New Year’s Day in the church year, which follows the life and ministry of our Lord, begins this year on December 1—the day many Christians count as the first day of Advent. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, a lot of churches observe Advent as a season of expectant waiting and the preparation of our hearts. Two millennia ago as Israel awaited the Messiah,…

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    Waiting Out the Wait

      I’m not good at waiting. Most of us aren’t. We live in a culture of instant response and immediate gratification. Even waiting out a storm can drag on. “Right now” has become the norm and expectation. But immediacy in all aspects of life is a relatively new phenomenon. In the not-too-distant past, responses and news of current happenings travelled at a snail’s pace. But as pre-iPhone kids, this created anticipation each week as we looked forward to the Sunday paper’s section of cartoon strips. My favorite: the beloved Snoopy by Charles Schulz. I still remember the picture of Snoopy laying atop his red doghouse with ears relaxed and eyes…

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    How Not to Hate the Wait

    Our pace of daily life quickens. For instance, do you remember when email emerged as a life-changing breakthrough––speeding up and expanding communication beyond what we ever imagined? Some of us older cats do. But today, many view email as an archaic nuisance, like snail mail. Why not just text or chat? In our world of one-click shopping and on-demand streaming, much of life no longer unfolds over time. We expect immediate results. We want what we want when we want it. Instantaneous life is a must. We hate waiting. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for anything. Or do we? Yes, often God asks us to wait. But His concept…

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    Waiting with Hope in a Gelatin World

    I’ll be honest. National and world affairs burden my heart. Yes, the world changes constantly, but in recent years the Arab Spring, Brexit, and the election of unexpected leaders in a number of countries have rocked our world. Just last week elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe led to violence. What issues weigh on your heart? I work with refugees. While refugee admissions are at decades long low in my country, there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, according the UN Refugee agency. The dire circumstances of so many burdens me. What people inhabit your personal concerns? Wayward children, a sick friend? Do you have significant personal desires that…