advent week 4 – the diligent work of patience

Today we are looking at a passage from Romans, chapter 8, verses 18-25.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

To birth something (a human, art, an idea, a sermon, a book) takes great effort. Often, though, before the birth or breakthrough, we hit a wall. We hit that “will it ever change, ever move, ever start?” wall, and then when we least expect it, there is a breakthrough. 

At age 15, I was determined to learn how to play guitar. Singing came naturally, as did making up songs to Jesus from scratch. Once I mastered that acoustic guitar, there was no stopping this next singer-songwriter for Jesus. But first, the guitar. Finger-picking came pretty naturally. I printed out all the tablatures to my favorite songs and devoted hours to learning the plucking rhythm and placements for each finger on the fretboard. 

Strumming was another matter. I could only strum in a 6/8 waltz-like time pattern. It took deep, labor-intensive work as I forced my hand into a clunky 4/4 time signature strum. 

I hit the wall one night after about a month of daily practice.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, (Romans 8:20)

I went to bed, bummed out and down on myself. And then the breakthrough came. The next afternoon I went right back at it, working on my strumming, and something clicked. The practice had finally sunk into the memory of my muscles, and with ease, grace, and flow, I strummed that guitar in 4/4 like nobody’s business!

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:22-25)

What are you waiting for?

What have you been working so hard to see realized?

What do you hope and pray for?

Jesus, the Light of the world, is the One we celebrate not only in the Christmas season but every day. We waited in hope for Him. We needed salvation, reconciliation, and direction. We cried aloud, “how long, oh Lord?”. At other times we waited patiently with quiet, expectant prayers for His coming. We toiled and worked and waited, and then, Christmas. The Light of the world came down to us. The breakthrough. The incarnate One.

We waited. We longed. We toiled. We prayed. We cried. We sang. He came and will come again in all of His glory. Hope is realized. Hope is here.

In this time leading up to Christmas, may we, God’s creation, wait in eager expectation for the incarnate one. Light of the world, who makes all things possible. Amen.


Need some community and prayer during this time? Reach out to us and let us know how we can pray for you, your family, your team, and your church this holiday season!

Becky Ykema

Becky Ykema

A Chicago native, Becky cut her teeth in worship leadership while on staff at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL for eight years. Most recently she finished up a six-year tenure as the Worship Pastor of Ascent Community Church in Louisville, CO. With 17 years of church staff ministry experience, and a passion for developing leaders, and teams, Becky works to improve the relational culture between pastors, production, and worship teams. She works as a coach and associate with Slingshot Group, serves a variety of churches through worship leading, and hosts the podcast, Darling: Confessions of a Former Megachurch Singer.

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