Dear Church Family,
Most of us find it hard to wait. Some consider waiting a waste of time, perhaps because they agree with our cultural mandate: “Get going! Do something! Show you are capable of making a decision!” Others don’t like waiting because it’s uncomfortable to be in a place between where you are and where you want to be. It impresses me, therefore, that there are so many people in the Bible who are called by God to wait.
The psalms reflect this attitude of waiting: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5). The Israelites in Egypt were waiting for a deliverer. The Jews in Jesus’ day were waiting for a Messiah. The disciples were told by Jesus to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit was given. Waiting seems to be an important aspect of the spiritual life.
People who wait in the Bible have received a promise that is at work in them, like a seed that has started to grow. It may be a specific promise, such as: “You will be given the Holy Spirit,” or it may be more general: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Waiting on God, therefore, is nurtured by promises that help us stay where we are until God clearly tells us to move into a new situation.
Waiting is also active. We usually think of waiting as something very passive, a hopeless state determined by events totally out of our control. Is your flight delayed? You can’t do anything about it, so you just have to sit there and wait. But in the Bible there is none of this fatalistic passivity. Those who are waiting are waiting with a deep faith that God has planted the seed and that something has begun. While we are waiting, God is at work putting everything in its place so at the right time he can bring us into the new situation. This means that a waiting person is also a patient person. To be patient is to be willing to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden in the present will be made clear to us by God in the future.
Lastly, it is important to note that people who wait in the Bible often wait together. The Christian community is designed by God as a place of support, celebration, and affirmation of what is even as we wait for God to reveal to us what will be. As a family of faith we come together around the promise that God will bless us as a church. We don’t know what that will look like in the future, but together we wait patiently and prayerfully for God to show us. And, while we wait, we continue doing the ministry he has blessed us with today.
Yours in Christ,