Editor’s Note: On this twenty-seventh day of our Advent blog series “Hidden Joys,” Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman, who is serving on the US-Mexico border, reflects on finding joy, hope, and grace in seasons of waiting. 


As I sit in my car in line with many other cars at the entrance into the United States, I realize I am pretty tired after the 2 AM shift at the migrant center. From previous experience, I can anticipate an hour to an hour and a half wait to get through. I certainly could make this easier on myself and purchase a special pass that allows passage through the express lane.  It would cut the trip across to five minutes. But it is expensive, and I know it really isn’t necessary. All I really need to do is find joy in the waiting.

There are experiences of waiting in everyone’s life. I have memories of waiting for that perfect job offer through months of unemployment, waiting anxiously for lab results and the doctor’s call, and waiting with nervous excitement to come down here to the border. I also remember one of the saddest “waits” in my life. It was waiting for my mother to pass on after she was no longer eating or drinking. Yet, looking back on all these experiences, I can see God’s grace and I can find joy.  

I think one of the most difficult “waits” I have witnessed down here at the US-Mexico border is the long wait for a better life. Migrants talk of their prayers for a better life at home that is sustainable and safe for their families. I hear their prayers of one day seeing the border wall coming down and living freely in the United States. I hear the hope in their voices, trusting that God will answer their prayers. I am humbled by their strength and ceaseless faith through their long wait.  

In this beautiful Advent season, there is joy in the wait. The wait is not for worldly gifts but the gift of Jesus Christ and the ultimate joy of knowing He will return. 

Reflection: Have you experienced joy in waiting?  Can there be peace and contentment during the unknown?