Today's scripture: Proverbs 15:18
Our daughter and son-in-law had been teaching school for several years in a remote Alaskan village on the edge of the Bering Sea. The opportunities for family to spend time together were few and precious. You can imagine our frustration and anxiety when their brief Christmas visit was disrupted by a snowstorm that snarled air traffic, delaying them in Chicago for two days.
We were desperate to get them home, and they frantically tried to find alternative airlines and other options. They called frequently to let us know the status. "If we can catch a flight to Kansas City, can you come get us?" Or, "Should we risk getting a rental car and the storm catching us, or wait it out here, hoping we can get a flight tomorrow?" We spent our time pacing, scanning the Internet for alternatives and calling relatives to let them know our Christmas plans were fluid. We were angry and frustrated and had no patience, resenting every second spent waiting for their arrival.
In the wee hours of the morning, we recognized we were "wasting our wait." Realistically, the weather and airline schedules were out of our hands. Time and energy that could have been spent in productive activities had been wasted on futile attempts to alter circumstances we did not control.
As God spoke to us in those early hours, we realized that he was in control. It was with this comforting awareness we began to rearrange our thinking. Anger and disappointment were replaced with creative ideas on how to reschedule our days and make the most of the time we had. While there was sadness about precious moments missed, there was joy in anticipating the arrival and a sweeter Christmas reunion knowing our waiting was useful rather than wasteful.
Robbi Haynes is recruitment and marketing director for the Missouri Baptist Children's Home.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.