First and second century Christians waited for Christ’s imminent return, in some cases virtually putting their lives on hold in anticipation. We see signs in the Apostle Paul’s writing that the delay of Jesus’ return brought some degree of turmoil in these communities.
And here in the 21st century we continue to wait—for many things. For Christ’s return certainly, but also for many worldly things. We wait for the election to finally have an outcome. We wait for this smothering pandemic to end. We wait and pray and work for an end to racism, injustice, violence, oppression, even wildfires and hurricanes. As in those early communities, questions, doubts, fears and worries creep into our lives and communities as well. We often ask, “Where is God in this mess? Why doesn’t Jesus do something? How can I continue to wait faithfully when nothing seems to change?” Fair questions all.
Here are a few suggestions for how we might wait faithfully.
- Pray and Trust – It is always a challenge for me to open my hands and heart and let go of the need to be in control, but it is especially important in times like these. I need to loosen my grip on control and tighten my grip on God. My prayer might be something like, “I don’t understand what is happening, God. I am afraid, and worried, and anxious—but I trust in you, Lord. I trust in you.” I will not let grief or fear or anger have the final word—I will trust in you, Lord.
- Acknowledge that We Do Not Wait Alone – we wait in community and we wait with Jesus. We gather with others who wait. We come together rather than further dividing. We speak words of civility when surrounded by incivility. We speak and act in love in the midst of insults and hate. This is never easy. I am encouraging this, but it is certainly difficult for me to do. But I believe we can do it if we encourage each other and trust in the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us. Jesus is with us in our waiting. He is present in the mess, the chaos, and the anxiety. Jesus meets us where we need him most. Need to see Jesus? Need to see evidence of His Presence? Serve others. Speak for those whose voices are denied. Stand alongside the oppressed. Do what Jesus did: clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the prisoner, and heal the sick. We see Him as we serve.
Where are you experiencing God’s presence in these times of waiting? Where are you seeing Jesus? Where do you find strength for waiting? Send a comment on this blog and let us know how you wait. May God bless and be present in your waiting.
(tech note: I tried some different things with the picture in this post. Hopefully, it came through more clearly on your phones and tablets. If it didn’t come through clearly in the e-mail, please let me know. As always, you can see the complete post at my website, TrustingGrace.com.)