What has waiting ever done for me? At first thought, it’s just plain useless! I want to get out there and try to get things done. In fact, even if there’s no progress, it feels better to try to move toward a goal by just doing something rather than nothing. I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought process.
Waiting takes patience. It takes grit. And a whole lot of faith. It requires sacrifice and a readiness for the proper time. Even though it makes me cringe a little inside, waiting is helpful and nourishing! In this day and age, waiting is straight-up tough. I want information; I have it within my reach at all times. I want pleasure; I have it within my reach at all times. I can literally get most anything I want within a few taps, clicks and calls in a very rapid manner. And if I don’t get what I want when I want it, then I throw a fit! ( Because that really does solve the problem!)
In Philippians, Paul is writing to encourage believers to watch out for false teachers and to be prepared to suffer for Christ’s sake because that’s what He did for us! At the time of his writing, it appears he is imprisoned (Philippians 1:7; 13) and truly waiting to either die or be let go. In his waiting, he pushes the Gospel forward. He even reminds us that our whole life is a waiting game:
“But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” — Philippians 3:20-21
And there are numerous other examples throughout Scripture that highlight the necessity of waiting.
Mary carried a baby for nine months before He was born (women probably don’t forget that, though). Then she had to be a parent! Just waiting for God’s plan to unfold.
Joseph went through half of his life as a slave. Just waiting for God’s plan to unfold.
Abraham climbed an entire mountain knowing he was about to sacrifice his son. Just waiting for God’s plan to unfold.
Jonah was in the belly of a whale. Just waiting for God’s plan to unfold.
Esther almost witnessed extermination. Just waiting for God’s plan to unfold.
Jesus lived so that He could die. Just waiting for God’s plan to unfold.
These weren’t easy tasks. They hurt. They tore apart these people! It’s really easy to lose sight of the length of time these things took. Sometimes Scripture reads like a fairytale. It seems like everything that needs to happen is immediate, but we forget the reality of these scenarios. They took time. A lot of time! Waiting is just plain, straight-up difficult. It tries our character, tests our patience, and purifies our hearts.
We wait for a lot of things with expectation. Think about Christmas Eve!
When I was young, I could hardly sleep knowing Santa was coming. I wanted to see him! I wanted to sneak out and catch a glimpse of this chubby, white-bearded fella. Just the thought of Christmas approaching was exciting. Heck, it’d be summer and the thought of Christmas coming was still present.
That’s the kind of expectation Paul is describing here. It’s an expectation that affects everything else in his life. If Jesus is coming back, then I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to prepare the table. There’s no time to waste!
Paul’s later letter to Titus lays down a very similar reminder:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and Godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.” — Titus 2:11-14
Paul is absolutely pumped about his Buddy’s possible coming! He wants to see Jesus. It’s obvious in his language and his actions.
Does spending time with Jesus excite me every single day? Sadly, no. But I want it to! Just because I didn’t wake up with Him on the forefront of my mind today doesn’t mean that will be the case tomorrow. I love Him with my whole heart and because of Him, I have an eternal purpose — a Kingdom purpose.
I am overwhelmed by His love and mercy for me! I need to wait in His love and affection so that, in my waiting, I’m preparing my Master’s table. I’m training for Godliness. Because it doesn’t just happen, it takes a lot of hard work. It takes grit, resilience and focus.
Don’t lose sight of what you’re waiting on.
—David Ledbetter, former pro pitcher
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