But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.Galatians 4:4–5 esv
Do you remember how long it took for Christmas to come when you were a child?
From Thanksgiving Day on, the excitement would build. Decorations appeared in stores. Then lights popped up around town, draped in trees like fairy necklaces. Mouthwatering smells wafted out of neighbors’ kitchens. Christmas trees strapped to station-wagon roofs rolled by like a parade.
At our house, Dad would finally drag the family tree out of the attic and set it up in the living room. One by one (or sometimes in clumps) packages would appear under the Christmas tree. Stockings dangled from the mantle like limp balloons waiting for the breath of Christmas to fill them.
It was a horribly marvelous wait, those childhood seasons of Advent.
And although my childhood Advents were glitterier than the wait the children of Israel experienced, the delays were holy pauses nonetheless.
My sisters and I hoped for a bicycle, the latest Barbie doll, or a stocking full of candy, but the children of Israel waited for the greatest gift of all—the Messiah.
And for humanity, it had been a very long wait. From the dawn of creation, really.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” God had promised in Genesis 3:15.
The time between this first messianic promise and its fulfillment stretched for centuries. Years of glory and years of shame. Times of glorious triumph and times of gut-wrenching tragedy. Moments of fearless faith and moments of faithless fear.
And then the silence. Four hundred years with no word from God.
No kingly edict. No prophetic visions. No holy mandates.
And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Unlike my childhood wait between one Christmas and the next, where the memory of the past season birthed hope and expectation for the next, the Jewish people had no memories of their own to carry them through. All they had were their forebearers’ stories and the ancient promises that, one day, a Messiah would come.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end”Isaiah 9:6–7
Yet during that long silence, and the even longer wait between mankind’s fall and Jesus’s incarnation, God was at work. Preparing a place. Preparing a people. Even preparing a Roman infrastructure that enabled early believers to carry the news of the gospel to the far corners of the globe.
And then, in the fullness of time, God sent His Son to save the world. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4–5 esv).
In the fullness of time.
I don’t know what you’re waiting for right now. A prodigal child to return? A dream to be fulfilled? A marriage to be healed? A loved one to be saved? A relationship to be restored? A financial burden to be lifted?
Whatever it is, don’t assume God’s silence means he’s not working. Cling to faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him,” the writer of Hebrews reminds us (11:6).
You may be in the middle of a long silence, a time when you wonder if God is at work. Don’t stop praying. Continue to search God’s Word for promises and claim them. Enlist prayer warriors to battle with you.
Never lose hope. Trust that, despite what you see, God is at work. Believe that, in the fullness of time, God will speak life into the silence that fills your ears. Don’t believe Satan’s lies that God has forgotten you or that He’s uncaring or impotent. Trust that He’s always at work (John 5:17) and will fulfill His plan for your life. No plan of God’s can be thwarted (Job 42:2).
He’ll bring to fruition what He promised. And when He does, it will be glorious.
Wait. Hope. Trust. God never wastes a season of waiting.
We can remain hopeful because God is at work in the waiting.
From the Heart
Father, thank you for reminding me that even in the waiting times, you are working. Help me trust you, even when I don’t see evidence of your hand at work. Remind me that you are with me. Teach me the lessons I need to learn to accomplish all you have for me to do. Grow my faith and trust today as I hope in you. In the strong name of Jesus I ask, amen.
This devotion is an excerpt from the book, Refresh Your Hope, 60 Reasons to Trust God with All Your Heart and is used with permission. Requests for permission to quote this book should be directed to: Permissions Department, Our Daily Bread Publishing, PO Box 3566, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, or contact by email at email@example.com.
LORI HATCHER is an author, blogger, pastor’s wife, and women’s ministry speaker. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Crosswalk.com. A contest-winning Toastmasters International speaker, Lori uses high impact stories to impart transformational truth. Find out more about Lori and her well-loved 5-minute devotions at LoriHatcher.com.