Life is all about waiting, because we are always waiting for something. I have spent most of my life using public transportation so I always seem to be waiting for a bus, or a train, or a plane.
We wait for doctors' appointments. We wait for good news, bad news, any news at all from family and friends! We wait for Spring. We wait for raises, and for the right house at the right price in the right place. We wait for the right gal or guy to come along (or we wait for the wrong gal or guy to go away—far, far away!).
In Venezuela, people wait in long lines to get basic foods and medicine. In other parts of the world people wait for rain, or peace, or freedom.
Some wait for the pain to go away.
For Mary, nine months must have seemed like an eternity. But like every other pregnant woman, she had to wait. And it wasn't simply the arrival of the Baby that she had to wait for. There were lots of little things in between.
Just after the announcement of Gabriel about the coming child, Mary journeyed to her cousin Elizabeth's home. The older woman was also expecting a child—another miracle baby, unexpected and, at this stage in Elizabeth's life, probably unplanned for. As she traveled, Mary might have wondered what kind of reception she would get from her cousin.
When Mary arrived she entered Zechariah's home and this was what she heard as she greeted her cousin: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!" (Luke 1:42).
Elizabeth's baby, focused on his mission of announcing the coming of the Messiah even from before birth, had done somersaults in her womb the minute Mary walked through the door!
Elizabeth's reception had echoed the words of the angel in his appearance to Mary. That would have been encouraging to a teenager newly pregnant with a child the world would consider illegitimate. Someone understood what had happened to her, what was going to happen.
But then Elizabeth added: "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:45).
Ah, the waiting again! Nine months for the birth and then...who knew how long afterward to discover just what was going to BE accomplished by this child. For this was not just Mary's journey, but the beginning of the journey of the child she was carrying. And she would have to wait to find out how the story of that journey would unfold.
Waiting isn't hard. We usually don't have a choice! But waiting in faith, without anxiety, without fear, without doubt, is the hard part.
Elizabeth's words were both an confirmation of Mary's faith, and a word of encouragement to continue to nurture that faith and not abandon it.
When I first arrive at the bus stop it is not hard to wait. Fifteen minutes later, waiting gets a little more difficult. Is it coming? Will I be late? Will I miss my connection? If it doesn't come soon will I become frozen to this spot?
Mary would know the temptation to be anxious, to be fearful, to doubt. She would constantly renew her commitment to believe that what the angel had told her would happen. Her Son would live. He would save His people from their sins. He would occupy the throne of David. He would reign forever.
Every moment of the journey, hers and his, would be part of the wait. And every moment of the journey would be another opportunity to declare, "I believe!"
And somehow when we believe enough to look toward the end that is promised rather than get bogged down in the beginning or the middle, the waiting doesn't seem quite so hard. That is the blessing of believing that everything the Lord has said WILL be accomplished.