Facebook has us pegged.
With its super-high-intelligent-algorithms, it can tell what life stage you’re in, and through not-so-subtle advertising, try to push you to the next life stage.
You’re single? Great, keep those dating site ads coming. Dating? Look, another engagement ring. Last week, I had one ad for an engagement ring and another for breast-feeding accessories. I finally stumped them.
Ask a single person when they’re getting married. Ask an infertile couple when they’re having kids. Ask a father trying to put his youngest kids through college while finish paying off their mortgage when he’s going to retire. You hit a nerve.
Three years ago I sat in the living room with good friends who had been married for eight years. The husband asked me the question I heard often as a single, “So, any guys in your life?” I shrugged, and looked to the floor feeling a pang of shame, “No.” His reply caught me completely off guard: “How is your heart doing with that?” His question opened me up to share my feelings of loneliness, of hope, of longing, and of desire. His single question reminded me that there is no shame in singleness. My desire is valid.
He and his wife then shared with me their desire to have children. The doctor had declared them infertile. I listened to my friends’ longing and we spoke of crying out to God and even cried together.
Two winters ago I did a word study on the word “wait” in the Bible. In Advent, the season of waiting, I noticed a theme: God’s people wait on Him. The Psalms are sprinkled with declarations of waiting (27:14, 37:7, 40:1, 62:1). Noah waited for the flood. Abraham waited for a son. Jacob waited for Rachel. Joseph waited in prison. Israel waited in captivity. Then again in the wilderness. All the meanwhile for their Messiah. Even now “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God… and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:19, 23).
We are a people of waiting. And we’re always looking to the next thing. But God meets us in our waiting. He meets us there and He doesn’t promise us a spouse, or a child, or a lakeside property upon retirement. Instead, He gives us Himself. And He gives us the opportunity to wait, trusting Him in faith and not by sight. In the places in the Bible where the word “wait” is used, it often isn’t for something in particular – it’s for God.
This week I sat with those same friends again in their living room. This time, we watched two pajama-dressed toddlers run around in circles, stopping every few seconds to give a kiss to Mommy or Daddy or me. Joy abounded in that room, from the patter of small footsteps to the deep gratitude in their mother’s eyes.
Creation is groaning. Our souls are longing. And so we wait.
Our Savior redeems.