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Seeing Him Up the Road

Rather than straining to see what’s ahead, Fuller Texas MDiv student Patricia Raybon is asking Jesus to arrive in her heart this Advent—in his own time.

Matt Lumpkin Day 4

Photo by Matt Lumpkin (MDiv ’11)

We are driving across Oklahoma—my husband nailing pedal to metal, determined to get us home to Colorado after a long week away—when traffic slams to a halt. Road construction is causing delays. And Dan is fuming. He rolls down the window, straining to find the problem. Frowning, he gestures to my window. “See anything up ahead? On your side?”

I breathe in slowly, biting my tongue—wanting to say what I believe: That I love you, fidgety husband, but pound for pound, I’m better at waiting. Better at patience. Better at believing the traffic jams of life unravel in time—if we’ll just wait for the solution to arrive. “So relax,” I tell my husband. “Like I do.”

Or like I did. Even during Advent, I could wait. After all, if I could wait unruffled in grocery store lines, post office crowds, and traffic jams, couldn’t I wait in my own strength for Christ?

Then 10 years ago, our youngest daughter went away to college a Christian and came home a Muslim. And my waiting profile changed. Suddenly my Advent plea—Come, Lord Jesus!—became daily, raw and personal. I prayed to Jesus: Roll down your window! See anything up ahead? On your side?

For this Advent, however, I’m letting Christ ease my plea. No longer demanding, I lay my Isaac down, loving her, asking Jesus to arrive—not just for Advent—and not just in my daughter’s heart, but first in mine. My hopeful husband’s, too.

Then we can be Christ enough for anybody to see him. See him up the road. Moving in his own time. He waits, as the Scripture says, to give us all opportunity to be saved. So he arrives with the promise intact: He is coming. When? Soon.