Film Friday: Military Wives

As a group of wives and their families await the return of their loved ones from the fighting in Afghanistan they find various ways of counting the days. Homemade calendars, tick boxes, jars of depleting sweets… and they keep busy too. Though they are a disparate bunch, reluctant and cautious at first, they form a ragtag choir…

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And at times they start to surprise themselves…

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However, this is not so much about aspiring to great musical things, but sharing support and friendship as they wait. That’s what is really important here. Because the waiting is hard, any phone call or text message could bring bad news. But they hold on, and they help each other to hold on.

Believe it or not the Bible is full of people waiting. Posh-coated Joseph spending years in prison. Jacob working for a decade or more for his beloved Rachel. Moses chasing sheep around the desert for forty years wondering where things went wrong. Anna waiting a lifetime to hold the baby from Bethlehem and see hope in his tiny glistening eyes. And then there are those blank pages. The 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. We read of Malachi’s promise of a new dawn, bringing light and healing; justice, laughter and joy (Malachi chapter 4). And then… a gap. (Though of course some Bibles include the Apocrypha here.) It’s easy to flick over these two blank pages in our Bibles, they are very thin after all, but they represent centuries of hoping. Till one day an angel appears to an aging priest called Zechariah, in Matthew chapter 1, promising the impossible.

Life contains a lot of waiting when it boils down to it. And the sometimes overlooked season of Advent, which we are now entering, is probably a lot more relevant than we realise. We want something better, something safer, some improvements. Something more. Please! We are not alone of course, for 2000 years Christians have been waiting for a new world, and it’s been a busy waiting! I guess we’re not supposed to hang around with our hands in our pockets looking up at the sky. That’s why Luke wrote the book of Acts. Like the military wives we have things we can do. An active kind of waiting.

It has been said that God is in the waiting. God is in the trudgery. Which does not make it any easier, any rosier, any cooler. But he is here. And he understands. He waits too, for so many things. For a world to lift its head and look to him. For a day when the time is right for him to return and set things right. We wait. He waits. With us. ‘Please help us Lord. With our emptiness and disappointments, and all that is unknown to us. And help us to help each other, though we are a disparate bunch, sometimes reluctant and cautious. Show us the way, please, Amen.’

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