Waiting For What?
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.(Isaiah 33:2)
Our waiting for God may be waiting for Him in our times of prayer to take His place as God, and to work in us the sense of His holy presence and nearness. It may be a special petition, to which we are expecting an answer. It may be our whole inner life, in which we are on the lookout for God’s putting forth of His power. It may be the whole state of His. Hur has, and saints, or some part of His work, for which our eyes are ever toward Him.
It is good that we sometimes count up to ourselves exactly what the things we are waiting for, and we shall be emboldened to say, “On thee do I wait.”
On Whom we are waiting? Not an idol, but the living God, such as He really is in His great glory, His infinite holiness, His power, wisdom and goodness, in His love and nearness. It is the presence of a master that wakens up the whole attention of the servant who waits on Him. It is the presence of God, as he can in Christ by His Holy Spirit make Himself known, and keep the soul under its covering and shadow, that will waken and strengthen the true waiting spirit.
This waiting on God has hardly yet been acknowledged as the only true Christianity. And yet, if it be true that God alone is goodness and joy and love, if it be true that our highest blessedness is in having as much of God as we can; if it be true that Christ has redeemed us wholly for God,and made of life a continually abiding in His presence possible, nothing less ought to satisfy than to be ever breathing this blessed atmosphere, “I wait on Thee.”
What a great question. What are we waiting for? Maybe you’re waiting for things to return to normal or waiting for the COVID-19 to end. Maybe you’re waiting for an answer to prayer or to hear the results of a test or a decision that will impact your life. Maybe you’re waiting for a vacation you really need. Whatever we are waiting for, the waiting can feel extremely long.
After the resurrection, Jesus spent about 40 days with the disciples. I’m sure for them that time must have flown and now they hear Him say, “I’m going away but I’m coming again.” So here they are now alone, facing the uncertain future without their constant mentor. They take comfort in He words, “I’m coming again.” Daily they waited in expectancy for that moment of His appearing. The waiting colored their very lives. They preached the Gospel, they told the story of Jesus, and they did the work of God with this expectancy of His appearing. It created a sense of urgency for their work and living. It affected how they lived personally for they wanted to be ready at all times. They had heard all the parables that Jesus told about His coming.
One of those parables was the story of the Master who took a journey. As He delayed His return, the servants began to act as if He wasn’t coming back any time soon and they began to abuse one another. What an appropriate parable this is today.
The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward [of the estate], whom his master will put in charge over his household, to give his servants their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is that servant whom his master finds so doing when he arrives. 44 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking his time in coming,’ and begins to beat the servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and yet did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will be beaten with many lashes [of the whip], 48 but the one who did not know it and did things worthy of a beating, will receive only a few [lashes]. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
The second parable of His coming:
35 “Be dressed and ready for active service, and keep your lamps continuously burning. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that when he comes and knocks they may immediately open the door for him. 37 Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) are those servants whom the master finds awake and watching when he arrives. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he will prepare himself to serve, and will have them recline at the table, and will come and wait on them. 38 Whether he comes in the second watch (before midnight), or even in the third (after midnight), and finds them so [prepared and ready], blessed are those servants. 39 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time the thief was coming, he [would have been awake and alert, and] would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 40 You too, be continually ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
Truly this is what we are waiting for. It is no myth, no story of imagination, but a truth. Christ Jesus is coming again. That’s His promise to us.(John 14) As we wait for the things of this earth to happen, let us not forget to wait for His coming.
The final thing that Jesus said about His coming:
He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain,’ and that is how it turns out. 55 And when [you see that] a south wind is blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders)! You know how to analyze and intelligently interpret the appearance of the earth and sky [to forecast the weather], but why do you not intelligently interpret this present time?
Surely as we see all that’s unfolding around us we can see His coming near. While we may not know the exact moment, we prepare as if it’s now. That’s what Jesus was telling us when He said, “If the head of the house would have known at what time the thief was coming, he would have been awake and alert…..”
How we live and how we act while we wait is critical. Again Jesus tells of two servants who are waiting on the Masters return. The first decided that since it didn’t look like the Master would return soon, he could take the advantage of the delay and indulge himself in elevating himself and abusing his fellow servants. The second tells of the servant who waits expectantly with the lights on. Though scripture doesn’t say, I believe that this servant at every sound went to the door or window to see if it was the Master. I have no doubt that when the Master finally arrived, He was greeted with great joy and the appearance of the house and the servant reflected the anticipated arrival. Jesus describes the consequences of both types of conduct. He tells us that the servant who believes the Master’s delayed coming is an opportunity to exercise a self-centered lifestyle and to do so at the expense of those he’s supposed to care for will receive his place with the unbelievers in punishment. He tells us that the servant who lived and waited in the expectation of the Masters return will be seated at the Master’s table and served by the Master. We get to choose the outcome of waiting.
Finally Jesus tells us that if we can know what the weather will be by observation of nature, shouldn’t we also by observation of world events and Biblical teaching know the times we live in and the forecast of His coming?
Dr. John Thompson