Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting is now available! For the next few weeks I have invited the members of my “street team” to share their stories and reflections on the book, the topic of waiting, and Advent. (This post contains affiliate links.)
I locked the office door, the printer still making that soft whir noise and spitting out warm paper, and hurried down the hall. They’d be here in less than an hour, and there was a lot yet to do.
At each room I stopped to tape up a door sign with the guests’ names, one piece of tape in each top corner and one along the bottom edge, turned on the lamp, made sure heaters were on and bathrooms were clean.
And then it was back to the office to organize paperwork: medical forms for the nurse, check in sheet for me, billing reports for each church, roommate list.
I know preparation.
For four years, I served in the office at a Bible Camp- processing registration forms and preparing, always the preparing, for a new group to encounter the love of Christ.
I’ll be honest with you, though. Being the prep person is not glamorous. It’s often thankless, unnoticed, and unappreciated. Serving well as one who makes the way for others requires the right attitude. I don’t usually have very much of that right attitude. I get bitter, tired, worn out, grouchy and impatient. Serving and preparing requires such humility.
There’s no better example of that than John the Baptist.
From the beginning of his life (and we’re talking the very beginning), John was overshadowed by his cousin Jesus.
John was conceived miraculously- his mother was past childbearing years. Only a few months later, though, Jesus was conceived even more miraculously- of a virgin, the child of God Himself.
John preached about repentance and the coming of the Messiah to hundreds of people… until Jesus started his public ministry and most of John’s followers left to follow Christ.
Despite being consistently and regularly outdone, John the Baptist was far from bitter or angry. He maintained his humility and recognized his true role in the amazing redemption story of Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist was a true man of preparation- he had the right attitude, the right perspective. He knew his mission. And he served to the fullest, even while he was waiting.
This is the guy who said, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:29-30
So often, the things God calls us to do aren’t flashy. Following and obeying rarely makes us famous, often makes us unpopular, and can even get us killed (as John himself would later experience).
Preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ isn’t glamorous, either.
“While the culture shouts the material beauty of the Christmas season- lights, ornaments, parties, gifts; our lives might offer a less flashy, but far more exciting narrative- sin, repentance, grace, manger, cross, resurrection!”- Come Lord Jesus, pg 38
Preparing our hearts takes time. It involves digging deep and being honest with ourselves. It means taking a good look in the mirror, actually facing that thing God’s convicted us of, removing all the entertaining distractions that take our time and focus. We need humility to enter in to the places where we’re weakest, into the broken spots of our souls. Heart preparation will definitely require repentance.
“In order to prepare the way, we must make a way for our own hearts to receive Him, by way of repentance.” –Come Lord Jesus, pg 39
Preparing our hearts doesn’t always seem exciting. It’s work. But it’s vital- necessary to fully enter into the presence of God and to live out the high calling we each have, especially during the wait.
This season, as we go through the hard work of preparing our hearts, let’s pray that we can be a little more like John the Baptist. Humble, honest, recognizing and knowing our roles. We need to begin by cleaning up our own hearts, and serving even when it’s hard and thankless and seems like we may never see the fruits of our labor.
Let the cry of our hearts and our lives be that of John the Baptist– “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”
Guest Post By
Ally Vermeer is an accidental country girl who splits her time between the cornfields of Iowa and the snowy mountain passes of Colorado. She strives to find beauty in the everyday, find God’s gifts in the unexpected, and find her phone (where’d she leave it this time?). Ally writes about faith, her family, her farmhouse, and counts her blessings (even the speckled ones) at The Speckled Goat. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.