Waiting is an ongoing experience evoking a plethora of emotions.
Sometimes you can be waiting for something that seems to be an eternity in its arrival, other times the waiting is no time at all.
I am not a patient waiter. In fact, when I go to the chiropractor and I have to wait for longer than ten minutes, I become extremely frustrated. In part because I feel like I have to pay so much for a ten-minute session, but mostly because I feel like my time is precious and valuable and I don’t like wasting it.
Time. Waiting. Hard. Easy.
Waiting takes many forms: short and long term.
Waiting for the bus, for the results, for the house to eventuate, for the children, for the appointment, for the news, for comfort, for the post, for friends, for the baby, for death, for the finance, for the move, for the next stage, for the plane trip, for the end of term, for the holidays. We wait for the outcome; painful and joyous in its arrival.
Waiting is a part of life and is tied to this concept we call time. We are born at a time; we live for a time and we die at a time. If there was no time, there would be no waiting. Time though is where we are now, and waiting is what we do.
It’s easy when you know that the outcome you desire will come. It is hard when you are unsure of its certainty.
I watched the Season 2 Christmas Special of ‘Call the Midwife’ the other night. The narrator spoke saying, ‘The time of Advent was a time of waiting. The children and streets were awash with coloured lights, children’s lists, fizzing delight and excitement, but the nuns were full of a calm, joyous expectation.’
It got me thinking about the difference between excitement and expectation. It seems that expectancy is a deep-seated emotion planted by God inside of our hearts. It is a hopeful waiting that comes with the knowledge that the anticipated outcome is a reality. It is waiting that waits with patience and in faith.
Expectancy is like a rock that is not tossed around by circumstances and events. It is unchangeable because at its foundation is the promise of a sure thing.
As followers of Jesus, we have this promise: Jesus is the sure thing. Waiting, in the Bible is a word (or few) that finds its root in hoping – waiting with a hopeful expectancy. The same expectancy that the nuns experienced – the one that is founded on Him and all He has accomplished – can be ours.
When I go to the chiropractor, I am hopeful that I will see him. In fact, I am not only hopeful I will see him, I am certain I will see him. I am paying him to see me and I am hopeful that the end result will be adjusted hips and a neck that moves freely.
The difference between waiting for the promise from the chiropractor and waiting for the promise from God is that sometimes, in my humanity, I am not always convinced of its certainty because I don’t pay for the promises of God. There is nothing I can do to control the outcome of that promise.
Yet I am reminded that there has been a payment: the blood of Jesus. The payment is irrevocable. It can never be refunded. The promises of God are ‘Yes and Amen’ because of this blood payment. It is in that knowledge of the irrevocable, spotless blood of the Lamb of God – the payment for my redemption and righteousness – that I can be hopeful in the waiting. Knowing this spiritual truth ensures my expectancy of the promises of God to come to pass in my life. He is our faithful Father.
Now, I am not saying that the blood of Jesus means I can go to God and get what we might deem as ‘services’. Far from it. The payment of the blood of Jesus is for my benefit because it provides me with all the riches of heaven: righteousness, holiness, purity, justification, redemption, salvation, acceptance in the beloved and love (to name but a few). The extra benefits are those that He promises to load us with daily.
Ultimately, the gift in which we find our waiting over, is the gift of His presence: His presence that is with us, all day, every day. To know Him, to abide in Him, is the greatest of all things that we could wait for and alas, the wait is over! The promise has come.
Tony and I have been waiting to buy a house for what seems an eternity. I’ve been waiting since that little dream took seed form in my heart at 17. Through circumstances beyond my control and the stubbornness of my desires, it’s been nine years in Australia without seeing that dream fulfilled. Has it been easy? Yes. Has it been hard? Yes. Have I got in my way? Yes. Has it become a reality? Finally!
The waiting for this promise to eventuate meant eventually surrendering myself to God and trusting that in Him. His promises are ‘Yes and Amen’. I had to take my hope and surrender it at the foot of the cross. I entrusted this dream of a house of my own, to the One who is faithful, even if that meant never seeing the fulfilment of the dream. God, though, was quick to move and we suddenly found ourselves with a house! An offer was placed and accepted, and my waiting shifted. It has now become about finance, approval, banks and settlements, but I am reminded that as I wait for the Lord, my hope is found in Him.
He is the guarantee; He has given me His promises because of the down payment of Jesus’ blood. His blood that gives me access into the Holy of Holies where I find true satisfaction, contentment and shelter. These are things for which we don’t have to wait. God encourages us to take hold of them. They are the promises He has given us. He says: Come, taste and see that the Lord is good. Know that the Lord your God is faithful.
Wait for the Lord, wait for Him to move, but know that you can wait with a hopeful expectancy.
Wait for the Lord to move on the hearts of those who don’t yet know Him whom you love.
Wait for Him to move on the illness. Wait for Him to move on the promise of shelter. Wait for Him to move in the job situation. Wait on Him with a knowledge that He hears our prayers. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He cannot be faithless.
Wait hopefully, expectantly.