How long would you wait for a friend? I don’t much enjoy waiting. We don’t like waiting for things. Sometimes it seems like the waiting will never end. Life is full of waiting. Waiting for the bus. Waiting in the dentist. Waiting for a film to be released. Waiting for Christmas.
Have you noticed how time slows down when you are waiting. Doesn’t it seem weird. One second you are in a panic, dashing around because you are about to be late. The next, the minutes seem like hours as you wait and wait. You see drivers who dash from one red light to the next, racing along as if there was not time to waste. They get so frustrated waiting for the next light to turn green.
What’s it all about. Why is there so much waiting. What’s the Bible got to say about waiting.
The Bible is full of waiting. As we look into the Bible we will see that instant gratification was not part of God’s design. God intended for there to be lots of waiting, starting with Eve. She couldn’t wait to eat the forbidden fruit. She wanted it now. Look where that got her. It’s the same with us.
Abraham had to wait for God to keep his promise. God promised Abraham a son. For 25 years he had to wait. Long after the time when it is possible to have children, God gave him a son.
Moses had to wait. He had to wait in Pharaoh’s palace. Then he had to wait 40 years in the desert. Then he had to wait for Pharaoh to release the Hebrew slaves. Then he had to wait another 40 years in the desert.
It will soon be Christmas. As we prepare for Christmas we think about that first Christmas, when faithful people were waiting for the Messiah. We also remember that we too are waiting for the Messiah. Jesus came once and he will come again.
Remember that Jesus also had to wait. He waited for 30 years after the first Christmas before he could start preaching the Good News. He told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come and give them the power to spread the Good News.
Waiting is not a waste of time. When God closes one door, he doesn’t open another. He tells you to wait. God has an important purpose for our waiting.
Luke says in chapter two of his Gospel that Simeon was “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.” And that Anna “had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”
They are praised for the quality of their waiting. Eager. Expectant.
These two prophets who saw baby Jesus were rewarded for the excellence of their waiting. They are therefore an example to us of how we should be waiting for Jesus to return. Are you eager and expectant for Jesus to return? What are you waiting for?
Abraham is praised for his waiting. Hebrews 11 says “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”
People who didn’t wait but took matters into their own hands are shown in the Bible as a bad example. Such as the Hebrews when they built a golden calf, or Saul when he failed to wait for Samuel (1 Samuel 13).
We tend to get bored and try to do it ourself. Or we lose hope and go off to do something else that gives us immediate pleasure and satisfaction. These are the wrong things to do. The right thing to do is what many consider the boring answer. Wait patiently. Wait with faith.
Romans 15:4 says, “the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”
Patiently, yes, but followers of Jesus aren’t to simply wait idly for God’s kingdom to come and change everything. We aren’t called to twiddle our thumbs in God’s waiting room. To the contrary, our job is to manifest the kingdom of God in our lives in the present moment. We are called to pray and live in such a way that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven right now.
“And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.” (2 Peter 3:14)
Waiting is actually when God is hardest at work changing us. You see, it is God who changes us. It is not our job to change ourselves.
It used to be that an English gentleman would hold the door for a lady to pass through first. He would wait for her, and then follow her through the door. It may seem sometimes as if we have been holding the door for Jesus for two thousand years. It may seem that we are holding the door open in vain.
There are times in our life when God asks us to do something. We are easily tempted to think that as soon as we do that thing, great events will follow. Instead we find we are standing holding a door, for example, that nobody is walking through. This is when we need faith. If God has asked us to hold the door, faith tells us to patiently hold it until he says let go. To hold it with a smile and a heart full of hope and love. To hold it expectantly.
Scripture promises us that when Jesus returns, everything will change. There will be no more sickness, death, hunger, natural disasters, violence, fear, heartaches, sin, or evil. There will be no more racism, nationalism, social oppression, or war. There will be no more abuse, greed, or the pursuit of power. The principalities and powers that now divide us will be defeated.
Jesus is going to fully establish the kingdom of God. How are we waiting for that time?
Romans 8:25 says, “if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.”
Romans 8 also says, “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. … And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory,”
Yes, there is more to come. There is a future glory, but the kingdom of God has already arrived in us. We are the pioneers. As we wait, the kingdom grows and expands.
We who place our trust in Jesus are uniquely consecrated to God. The Holy Spirit in us puts on display the coming harvest. As we wait, we manifest now the transformation that will one day be true for all people.
Romans 8 further says, “We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.”
While we wait, we build our relationship with Jesus and other believers.
We cannot forget that Christmas was preceded by a time of waiting. Waiting is hard indeed, but it is also a gift. Even as we wait for the supreme gift of Jesus’ return with the new heavens and the new earth, Jesus has gifts for us here and now for his glory.
“Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:7)
We are in a season of waiting. It is the time to not look for results or measure progress by deeds. We are preparing ourselves and the world for the second Christmas. However long we have to wait, the important point is to wait eagerly. Develop our desire for Jesus. Increase our longing for him. Invite others into the kingdom. Share the Good News.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas in two weeks, we also prepare our hearts for the return of our Messiah.