I’ve done quite a lot of waiting in my life – sometimes patiently, sometimes apprehensively, sometimes with hope and longing – and more than once with a mixture of all those things.
It’s generally believed that waiting is a good thing. The Stanford Marshmallow experiment apparently showed that children who were able to wait to eat a sweet grew up to be more successful that those who couldn’t.
Yet the digital world seems to be making waiting unnecessary. Faster and faster download speeds, and instant access to books, films and music have sped up life offline as well as online. Emails demand instant answers and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter create even more immediate way of communicating.
Part of our calling as Christians in the digital space is to prepare the ground for people to meet God. We have heard the voice that Isaiah heard, calling:
‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God’ (Isaiah 40:3)
and the responsibility we feel for making Christ known in our online contexts can make us very busy.
The season of Advent is a season of waiting. It reminds us that we need to balance our busy-ness with peacefulness. We need to listen as well as speak, to reflect as well as act.
We need to create a spaces and gaps online for God to speak his Word into.
Otherwise, how will anyone hear it?