Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

September 06, 2004

What are you waiting for?

I've started reading a book called Authentic Faith, by Gary L. Thomas. He has a chapter on the subject of "waiting", and he rightly points out that waiting is a fundamental identifying element of the Christian walk. Jude 21 puts it second only to love itself: "Keep yourself in the love of God as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life."

There are many waiting verses in the New Testament. Associated with waiting is looking. Keeping a sharp eye. When Christ's disciples question Him regarding the end times, he says, "Watch and pray." Be on the lookout, because there are going to be signs. Simeon, a righteous man, was "waiting for the consolation (the peace, the reconcilation) of Israel." And when he saw Jesus, he saw the consolation for which he'd been waiting.

So then the question is, what are we waiting for? What signs are we looking for? Are we waiting for things that have no spiritual importance? Are we waiting for our wishes to come true? Are waiting for the fulfillment of promises we've made to ourselves in the flesh, or that others have made? Are we waiting for God to satisfy our longing for comfort in this life, even though he promised that in this life we would have trouble? Are we waiting for our spouse or our children to measure up to our own perfect standards? Are we waiting for the winning lottery ticket? Are we waiting for the perfect mate? Are waiting for payday? The weekend? Lost innocence? Sleep? Or, like characters in a modernist play, for some man or god who never comes?

All of us are waiting for that upon which we've set our minds and hearts. Many of us are waiting for illusions. If we are Christians, we are waiting for the mercy of God. We are waiting for Jesus. And waiting, of course, requires patience. Ah, but the Father will teach us that. Patience with others. Patience with ourselves. Patience with God. That's a mark of true reconciliation, is it not? I will wait for you, we say to one we love. Those whom we love, we wait for. Father, give us power to love, and patience to wait. In Jesus Christ's name, amen.


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