Leaning against the tall, black signpost at the 5-point crosswalk on 5th and Main Street in downtown Franklin, my eyes move upward toward the walk-sign, my feet eagerly anticipating the indication that it is safe to cross the busy intersection.
Even as the church bells ring softly in the background, an automated voice commands me through the warm summer air to wait.
“Wait”… “Wait”… “Wait”… “Wait”…
“Walk sign is on”… “Walk sign is on”… “Walk sign is on”…
At the prompting of this sophisticated crosswalk, I amble along the street joyful but contemplative. I can’t help but wonder how much of my life has been spent waiting.
Waiting to get married. Waiting for children to come. Waiting for the doors to open for pastoral ministry. Waiting to plant a church. Waiting for a financial breakthrough. Waiting for progress in so many life-long prayers, dreams, and desires.
Waiting on the sign that says it’s safe to proceed.
It’s a brief part of every short jaunt from my office building to the local coffee shop just to snag a shot of espresso for the morning’s push. But it’s a major part of our lives as a whole. So much of life is spent in waiting.
And it’s easy to grow weary while you wait.
On This Side of Heaven, We Wait
The truth is, for the Christian, all of life is one big, steady wait.
There is a groaning and anticipation, an expectation, a longing, and a yearning that is natural for the believer on this side of eternity. “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God”, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:19; 23)
In this world, we will never outgrow our waiting. The pain of it is with us at the dawn of every new day even as the dew kisses the grass and the birds greet the morning with melodic singing.
Every day arrives holding some new measure of waiting. Yet, God’s mercies are also new every morning, which makes the waiting worthwhile. God upholds us with sustaining grace when He calls us to stand in line and wait.
As we manage our way through the fits and starts of our everyday lives, it’s helpful to know that waiting is a major part of God’s plan for us.
If you’re waiting on God, you are not alone. The Lord enrolls each of His children in this university. Abraham was promised a son at 75; God delivered on the promise when Abraham was 100. Joseph was given a dream and then sold into slavery; it was decades before his vision became reality. Moses wandered in the desert 40 years before seeing the Promised Land. David was anointed king of Israel and then spent years narrowly escaping death at the hand of Saul before the promised kingship was finally granted to him.
Even if you have your desires delivered, ultimately God has placed eternity into our hearts and we are in a constant craving for the future day when his glory will be fully revealed in us and through us.
One day, the complete realization of our inheritance in Christ will finally be ours. On that day we will be fully redeemed and there will be no more waiting. For now, we live with the reality that our best life is future, not present. Our best life is then, not now.
If you’re growing weary in your waiting, remember that you’re not alone. The LORD works on behalf of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4).
And He, also, is waiting… to be gracious to you:
“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.”
(Isaiah 30:18 ESV)
This post has been adapted from an excerpt in the book What Thirty-Somethings Need to Hear: When Age Meets Grace.