I have done some serious waiting in my life.
Looooooong plane rides.
12, 13 and 16 hour rides.
Long layovers, too.
24 hours in Singapore.
12 hours in Detroit.
(Guess which one felt longer?)
Long car rides.
Waiting while a friend is labor.
Waiting for the bride and groom to show up to the reception.
Waiting for the contract to be accepted on my house.
Waiting to be the bride.
Some of those were easier than others.
The ones that were easiest were the ones with the known variables.
The flight will land at this time.
The destination will be achieved in this many hours.
The layover will end at this time.
The hardest ones were (and are) the ones where the end is not known.
Are we almost done waiting?
Or are we not even half-way there?
Has this waiting really just begun?
Or do I get to arrive sometime soon?
Of course, the world pandemic of COVID-19 fits in that second category: the great unknown.
Which is what makes it so hard.
Will we go back to school this year at all?
When will the borders open?
When will I see my family again?
When can people get back to work?
When will my parents and other loved ones be out of danger?
You know, there were a ton of people in the Bible who had unknowns.
And long, long waits.
We know the ends of their stories.
So it is easy to breeze past their seasons of wait.
But THEY didn’t know the end of their story.
And yet they faithfully waited.
Serving while they waited.
Praising while they waited.
Being faithful while they waited.
And yes, crying out to God while they waited.
Some of them NEVER saw what they waited for so patiently.
I think of the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt.
There were 430 years between the time Joseph’s family moved there and Moses led them out.
How many of those years were slavery?
It is unclear.
But many for sure.
Many, many YEARS where they cried out to God for deliverance.
And they waited.
Many of those who looked for the Messiah waited without seeing as well.
Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah and tons of other prophets all “saw” him in their prophecies.
But they never physically laid eyes on him.
There were hundreds of years between the visions they saw and the reality of fulfillment.
I think of Joseph.
He told a fellow prisoner who happened to be a high-ranking official in Pharaoh’s court the meaning of his dream. And he said, “When that dream comes true, don’t forget me here in prison.”
The dream came true; the guy got his job back.
And promptly forgot to remember Joe.
For two years he completely forgot about him.
I think of Noah and his family.
They knew the rains were coming.
But they had no idea they were going to be in that boat with all those animals for over a year!
There were “only” 40 days and nights of rain
But then days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months as they floated.
Fed the animals.
Dumped the poo.
Fed them again.
And repeated it all the next day.
And the one after that.
It is a theme ALL through the Bible.
David was crowned king as a boy and didn’t take the throne for decades.
Moses spent 80 years in training for the 40 years he spent with ungrateful people.
Simeon literally waited his whole long life to have the Messiah in his arms.
Over and over again, God’s people have waited.
Even now, we are waiting.
Jesus promised to return.
To kick out the evil.
To make a new heaven and a new earth.
To make all things new.
It hasn’t happened yet.
But it will happen.
But He is waiting, too.
Waiting for hearts to turn to Him.
Waiting for us to do our jobs.
Waiting for the world to hear about Him.
Waiting for us to actually obey.
He is patiently waiting.
And in the meantime, He is our hope in the wait.
In EVERY wait.
Because one of His names is “Alpha” or “Beginning”.
And another of His names is “Omega” or “End”.
He IS the Beginning and End of ALL things.
Including this virus.
It is ALL in His hands.
And He has allowed it for our good and His glory.
The evidence of Him.
And so we wait on Him.
As the psalmist put it, we watch Him like a servant watches for a master’s slightest signal.
The flick of a wrist.
The lift of an eyebrow.
The slightest motion of a finger.
We wait on Him.
We watch for Him.
We seek His ways.
How He would have us love in His name.
Because the most amazing thing happens as we wait on Him.
As we let go of our timetables.
And our expectations.
As we throw up our hands and admit our lack of control.
As we humble ourselves before Him.
As we wait on HIM.
He renews our strength.
He strengthens tired knees and weak hands.
He restores souls.
And refreshes the weary.
So this wait is one of the hard ones.
We have no idea when it will end.
But there are things we KNOW to be true, even as we wait:
He is the Alpha and Omega of all things, including these circumstances.
He has promised to work even this out for our good and His glory.
We have a job to do, even as we wait.
The world is LITERALLY dying and going to hell without Him.
And right now, they see it.
The feel it.
They fear it.
So redeem this waiting time, please.
Pray for opportunities to share His love.
Then trust Him to give you the words when He opens the door of opportunity.
Don’t preach a sermon.
Just share what He has done for you.
Pray for the hearts and souls of those who do not know Him.
Ask Him to put willing voices in their ears. And willing ears in their heads.
Pray about what lessons He wants to teach you during this time.
What good habits do you now have time to foster?
What bad habits do you now have the energy to break?
How does He want to change you in the wait?
Spend time in His Word.
Spend time listening to Him.
Let Him whisper to your heart.
And let Him change you from the inside out.
Don’t waste the wait.
The world needs you to use it to become a stronger soldier for the King of Kings.
Whatever you do, please don’t waste the wait!