All of us, without exception have had to wait for something, or someone at a certain point in our lives. It is often that I’m stuck in my apartment because I’m waiting for a package, and since the delivery person requires a signature, I have no choice but to sit at home on a sunny day, and hope that my package arrives sooner rather than later.
Although all of us have had to wait for something or someone, not all of us wait in the same manner. Today I want to discuss the four ways in which people wait, but also discuss the importance of waiting well.
The Word encourages us to wait on the Lord, but the manner in which we wait is as important as the fact that we are waiting. We readily do what is written in regards to waiting, we wait, because often times we have no choice, and there is no one who can understand our grief, or get us out of a certain predicament except for God, but few have discovered the secret of waiting well.
Even if you are shaking your head and thinking to yourself ‘I’ve never had to wait for anything in my life!’ well, we’re all waiting for Jesus to return, so yes, you are waiting for something, and if I may be so bold I would ask that you take a second and consider how it is that you are waiting for Him.
The first way in which people wait is with indifference.
It’s not often that I have people over. Especially when I’m in America, I’m either writing, filming, or on the road, so when a friend calls and lets me know that he’ll be dropping by, I tend to prepare a little. I push the vacuum around the apartment a couple times, I make sure I have creamer for the coffee, I make sure that I have at least some cheese and crackers I can offer the person coming over if they’re hungry, because I look forward to their visit. There are some who don’t prepare however. You call ahead of time, tell them you’re coming over, and when you show up an hour later, they’re still in their pajamas wiping sleep from their eyes, and excusing themselves to go to the restroom. They treat your visit with indifference, even though you called in advance and told them you would be arriving.
Many believers today treat the return of Jesus in a similar manner. Jesus told us He was coming, He made his intentions very clear, and we know Him to be truthful, and honest, and a keeper of His word. Even though we know Jesus is coming, we are indifferent to the reality of His arrival, and do nothing to prepare for it. His coming today is closer than it was yesterday, and tomorrow it will be closer than it is today. Although I have purposefully tried to stay away from recent events, and things that have been happening in the world, because I believe spiritual preparedness to be far more important than the knowledge of who’s going to bomb who in a week, there is no doubt that things are escalating, and the harbingers of Christ’s return are clear, and present and everywhere.
The second way in which people wait is with impatience.
I’m usually a patient person. If someone says they’ll visit at a given hour, I don’t start tapping my foot, or checking my watch if they’re five or ten minutes late. The only time I grow exceedingly impatient, is when my wife is going somewhere, and she says she’ll call me at a certain hour to check in and let me know that everything’s alright. I worry, but luckily she’s the only person I worry about, but yes, I tend to get a little impatient if she’s a few minutes late in checking in. Now this impatience of which I speak, in regards to my wife, is not an impatience birthed out of indifference, but one birth out of love for her.
Although Jesus never told us the day and hour He would return, because only the Father knows these things, believers today are growing exceedingly impatient with Him. When taking into account the twisted doctrine that many believers have allowed into their hearts, believing that they will never see a day of hardship, or trial or tribulation, and that Jesus would catch them away before a tear was shed, or their faith was tested, countless souls are checking their watches, tapping their feet, and wondering why Jesus hasn’t shown up yet.
‘Where are you Lord? You were supposed to be here by now!’
By whose reckoning was He supposed to be here by now? By whose interpretation or teaching do we assume that Jesus is late in His return?
He is coming! Of this we can be certain, and knowing that He is coming we must live each day as though it was the day, and serve Him and worship Him as lord and King. Impatience is a distraction, it takes our eyes off our need to worship Jesus, and compels us to start questioning Him, second guessing Him, and in extreme cases even doubting Him. He did not say when He was returning, He did say however that He is.
I understand that it is easy to grow impatient waiting on the Lord. When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, days after Lazarus had died, it was Martha that said to Jesus, ‘Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ I can’t imagine what went through their minds, as Lazarus grew worse day by day, as they waited for Jesus to arrive, thinking to themselves, ‘any minute now, surely He will come before our brother expires’, then Lazarus dies, and Jesus doesn’t even show up for the funeral, they put him in the tomb which was a cave, seal it with a stone, and Jesus is still nowhere to be found. The first day passes, the sisters are still grieving, as does the second, and the third, and finally on the fourth day after Lazarus’s entombment, Jesus arrives in Bethany. We know what happens next, Jesus ordering the stone to be taken away, and commanding Lazarus to come forth, which He does.
Why go into the retelling of this event? For one simple reason, to reassure you that although you might think God is late, although you might think that He didn’t make it and intervene when He ought to have, in reality, He is never late, His timing is perfect and impeccable, and armed with this knowledge we should neither grow impatient, or lose hope.
The reason impatience is so dangerous, is that at a certain point we grow so impatient that we try to do on our own what only God can do. As the armies of Israel had gathered, Saul begins to grow impatient because Samuel is late. His impatience only escalates as he sees some of his soldiers dispersing, until Saul does something he had not been commanded to do, and God takes the kingdom from him. Do not be hasty or thoughtless in your impatience, do not presume or assume that this is what God would want you to do on a certain matter if He hasn’t told you what to do. Overcome your impatience, and wait on the Lord until He answers, and confirms.
The third way in which people wait is with fearful expectation.
Hebrews 10:26-27, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
This is a disturbing verse for many people, especially for those who dismiss the justice of God and all they focus on is the love of God. Yes, if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, if in our rebellion and hardness of heart we are unwilling to repent, and to return to Jesus, then yes, all that remains is a certain fearful expectation of judgment.
Just as it was in the days of old, when all the Jews had to do was look at the bronze serpent Moses had erected in order to be healed, some refused to do it an died in agony. If we know that we have sinned, we must humble ourselves and come before the heavenly Father with repentant hearts that we might not wait with fearful expectation of judgment.
The fourth way in which people wait, and it is the way we should all aspire to wait is in love, and expectation of His return.
1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect.”
When we wait in love for our groom to return, there is no fear of what tomorrow holds, there is no fear of how future events will affect us, because we are consumed by the love we have for our groom. We must live with the expectation of His return, for He is returning, and the only way in which we can wait well is in love.
Whether with indifference, impatience, or with fearful expectation, unless we are waiting on the Lord in love, we will not be about our Father’s business, we will not be fulfilling our duty before Him, because we will be preoccupied with other things. Wait on the Lord in love, and you will know what it is to live without fear, because perfect love casts out fear.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.