Waiting and Longing, Hoping Against Hope

Joy's poem
Joy Lenton – Shared by Permission

As I gazed at the bare, dead-looking trees, an ache squeezed my heart so hard it hurt. Oh, how I long for spring when new life springs forth embracing my heart with hope again. But I have to wait and let winter play its important role…

Waiting… How difficult it must have been in the Bible days to have to wait for the Hope of salvation to be born. How discouraged people must have felt at times waiting and longing, hoping against hope,

When an angel came to Zacharias to announce the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, there had been 400 years of silence from prophets. The last one who prophesied the Savior was Malachi. And it was 300 years before that when Isaiah prophesied:

“All right then, the Lord Himself will give you the sign.
Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son and will call Him
Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”

Can you imagine the anguish of waiting? Some didn’t even see it happen in this lifetime. What faith they needed to believe He would yet come to be their Savior, too.

Six months after Elizabeth conceived, the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce the fulfillment of the long-awaited promise of Immanuel – God With Us. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped with joy. The Savior was to be born from Mary!

We are so blessed to already know He has come. But sometimes there can still be longing, aching, waiting times for Christ. Sometimes wondering where He is in our lives. Sometimes aching for His presence – to truly feel Him. Sometimes waiting for unmet longings.

When Jacob was running for his life from his enraged brother Esau, he stopped at Bethel and used a rock as his pillow. He dreamed of a ladder stretching up to heaven with angels ascending and descending it and the Lord Himself at the top. When he woke up, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

Isn’t that what often happens with us? The Lord is ever faithful with His presence. It’s we who are not always aware of it. He was still there when there was 400 years of silence, and He is still here when we feel darkness surrounding us within and without. His fulfillment of His promise is just as steadfast whether it’s night or day. Whether we can “feel” Him or not.

Winters in nature are necessary. Trees look dead without leaves, but the truth is they are alive and growing underneath the surface as long as the ground isn’t too frozen. The nutrients empower the roots in the barren times. The roots grow down deeper and stronger, preparing them for what is to come, more able to suffer times of heat and drought. Longing and waiting for the signs of life again makes us value spring even more.

That’s how it is with spiritual waiting times, too. Our roots need to grow deeper into Christ and His ever-sure promises that He is here even when we can’t “feel” Him. And after the times of longing, waiting, and hoping against hope, we become more alert and aware of the evidences of His presence and the fulfillment to His promises and we appreciate those signs of new life so much more.

“Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” ~ Ephesians 3:17-19

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“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
~ Sung by Barlow Girl

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14 thoughts on “Waiting and Longing, Hoping Against Hope

  1. “Our roots need to grow deeper into Christ and His ever-sure promises that He is here even when we can’t “feel” Him.” Amen, Trudy! Such beautiful, hope-filled words. In the dark, wintry seasons of our lives it is easy to lose hope and feel we’ve been abandoned because our feelings suggest God has left us to our own devices.
    Sinking our roots of faith deeper into Christ and His promises is a wonderful way to remind ourselves that we’re still being held, He is ever-present with us, we are made strong and new in Him. And Spring will come again. May you have hope, peace and joy as you wait upon Him this Advent season. Blessings in abundance, sweet friend! xox 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Joy. I’m glad you found hope in this post. “We’re still being held.” Yes! You always give me hope, too, my friend. Thank you again for letting me use your poem/graphic. It fits well with this post. 🙂 May you also be given hope, peace, and joy! Hugs! 🌹

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  2. Trudy,
    What an apt metaphor you selected about how our times of waiting are what allow us to sink our roots deeper into Christ….such hope we can have and we can see it played out in the bare trees and plants around us as we ache and long for spring and for the fullness of His Presence…we wait for His second coming even as we celebrate His first coming…blessings to you 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Dolly. I love what you write about waiting for His second coming even as we celebrate His first coming. It makes me think of how faithfully He will keep that second coming promise just as He did the first! Blessings to you, too! May you have a soul refreshing Advent! 💗

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  3. This is beautiful! Winter is my least favorite season as well… but I know how important it is and how much is happening and shifting and growing beneath the surface! We are neighbors over at Holleys’ place today! So glad I stopped by!

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  4. Hi Trudy! I think winter is tough on many people. There’s the lack of sunshine, the bother of cold and snow…it’s hard to think of something nice to say about it! But then you talk about the trees, and how they really are alive, even though they look dead. I think it’s the same for me. I may not look bright as a penny, but God is always with me. There’s plenty of life in my roots!

    A wonderful word for today, when it’s overcast and COLD!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Winters are especially hard for me as the cold tightens my airways too much, so I do better staying out of it as much as possible. I also catch more of the bugs going around during the winter months. It can be very trying, so I try to find the positive in it. 🙂 Longing for the warm sunshine again, but it will come!

      I love what you say about there being “plenty of life in my roots.” 🙂 When we are rooted in Jesus, we will be safe, secure, and alive. Thank you, Ceil, for encouraging me today that God is ALWAYS with us. I so easily forget! Sometimes even moments after writing a post about it. Blessings to you, too! 💗

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  5. Hoping for spring right along side you my friend! At least need just enough snow to make it pretty right now huh? 🙂
    Even when it feels like we are going through our own barren winter, He is still with us (carrying us if he has to!).
    Always look forward to reading your posts Trudy! 😉
    (((HUGS))) to you kindred-friend!

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    1. Thank you, Krista, for your kind words. I love being on this journey together with you. 🙂 I love the beauty of the snow, but I worry about it being dangerous for those on the roads. I didn’t worry about these things when I was a kid. I had so much fun in it! We made snow caves and tunnels in the big drifts at our farm’s grove. Then there were the snowball fights. And sledding down the hills in the pasture, we had a blast. I wish I could handle the cold like I did then, but I just have to be grateful I have a warm home to be in and hope kids are having fun in the snow instead of sitting in the house with video games. 🙂 Yes! He will carry us when we have no strength to go on. Comforting thought! Hugs to you, too, kindred friend. 💗

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    1. Hi Sarah! It’s hard waiting, isn’t it? But yes, at least it’s not hundreds of years! Although, sometimes we may wait a lifetime, and our prayers don’t get answered until after we’re gone. It’s a comfort that God never forgets a request. The answer may be yes, no, or wait. Though it’s hard sometimes to leave it into His hands, He always has plans to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). I love that verse and try to cling to it! May God give you peace and joy in this Christmas season and always! 💗

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