We spend a significant proportion of our lives waiting every day. It can be a mundane wait for transportation (bus, train, taxi) or waiting in line for our food. It can be a happy wait – for graduation day, a life partner, marriage, birth of a child. It can also be an emotionally draining wait – for a job in a slowing economy, for a prodigal child/spouse to return, healing for a sickness or for God to answer a specific prayer.
Waiting for God
The people of God in the Bible also waited. In the Old Testament, Abraham and Sarah waited for a son, Moses waited for the right time to lead God’s people out of Egypt, Ruth waited for Boaz to redeem her as her kinsman redeemer and many others. In the New Testament, Simeon waited for the birth of the Messiah and his presentation as baby Jesus in the temple, the early church waited for the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. These stories are a picture of a broader narrative of God fulfilling his promises to His waiting people.
Apostle Paul in Romans 8 describes that even creation waits eagerly for the redemption. The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now and the people of God groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies too.
Wise or Foolish Waiting
The gospel of Matthew chapter 25 records the familiar parable of the ten virgins. Five were wise and the other five were foolish. All of them were waiting for the bridegroom and all of them fell asleep while waiting. The five wise virgins were proactive in bringing extra oil for their lamps whereas the foolish ones were passive and did not bring enough oil to last the night. It is instructive that as we wait for God, we should be proactively using our knowledge, skills and resources even as we wait for Christ’s return to restore the world to His original intent.
Andrew Murray in his book Waiting on God, helps us to understand the true purpose of our waiting:
At our first entrance into the school of waiting upon God, the heart is mainly set on the blessings which we wait for. God graciously uses our needs and desires for help to educate us for something higher than we were thinking of. We were seeking gifts; He, the Giver, longs to give Himself and to satisfy the soul with His goodness.
It is just for this reason that He often withholds the gifts, and that the time of waiting is made so long. He is constantly seeking to win the heart of His child for Himself. He wishes that we would not only say, when He bestows the gift, “How good is God!” but that long before it comes, and even if it never comes, we should all the time be experiencing: it is good that a man should quietly wait. “The Lord is good unto them that wait for him.”
What a blessed life the life of waiting then becomes, the continual worship of faith, adoring, and trusting His goodness. As the soul learns its secret, every act or exercise of waiting becomes just a quiet entering into the goodness of God, to let it do its blessed work and satisfy our every need.
While we are waiting, God is at work. When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)
God Waiting for Us
There is another picture of waiting – that of our waiting heavenly Father as depicted in the Parable of the Lost Son. It should be more aptly named the Parable of the Waiting Father who waits for his prodigal son to return home every day. In this familiar parable, we often think that there is only one lost son. There is another son who was lost – the elder son who was lost even though he was staying at home with his father. God is waiting patiently every day for us to come into His loving presence and He wants to put the royal cloak and ring on us, to kill the fattened calf and throw a party to celebrate. Christ shall return once every lost son or daughter has returned back to the Father.
What Are You Waiting For?
Whatever your personal situation is right now, God has promised that He is good unto those who wait for Him (Lamentations 3:25), and they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). Abba Father is waiting for your return.
May God show us personal insights of His goodness as we wait upon Him.
Eld Wilson Teng