No one likes waiting. Whether it's waiting for those all important test results or waiting for the train, waiting evokes a cacophony of emotions - denial, apathy, frustration, anger, worry, panic, meltdown, and most likely results in an angry tweet or two complaining about South West trains.They say that the British love to queue. As someone who is arguably more British than Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace, I defy this accusation... we simply love to complain about queueing.
So, if the British don't even like to wait, what on earth do we do in a world where waiting is inevitable, especially if you're a Christian?
Christians wait. A lot. I'm not talking about saving sex until marriage or waiting for a husband to come and whisk you off your feet. God's people have always had to wait - whether that be waiting to enter the promised land, waiting for the Messiah to come, or waiting for Jesus to return.
Yup, we're still in the last camp.
Don't get me wrong - on the cross, Jesus said 'it is finished', meaning His work was, indeed, finished. If you have put your faith in Christ, you have a real relationship with God, and He has already declared you part of the family, and being one with Christ, you have taken on His innocence. This is something to be celebrated, enjoyed and lived to the full.
However, it would be naive to deny that we live in tension - whilst all the above is true, we still live in a world permeated by sin and its effects are evident wherever you look. We have yet to experience a time where there is 'no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away' (Rev. 21:4).
This waiting period can be frustrating.
I had to wait today. Honestly, I've been waiting for a while, but today it came to a head. Firstly and foremostly, if you don't already know, I love Jesus. He's phenomenal. I also love the people who I have to come alongside as part of my job, and I long for them them experience Jesus. I thought today was the 'light bulb moment' day, where they would encounter Jesus in a real and amazing way. It appears that it wasn't, and boy, was I frustrated. As I walked this evening, I had it out with God. I was frustrated, and through my tears, I told God how much I love these guys and how much I want them to know Him, how I don't want this for my glory but His, and how I trust His timing, but why, oh why isn't His timing now?
As I blinked away tears, I became aware of silhouetted trees against the backdrop of a gorgeous moon, and stars gleaming through the darkness. I was overcome with awe at this clear reflection of God's majesty. He created those stars. He created me. He created these people I love, and He loves them far more than I do. I'd take a bullet for any of them without a second thought; He has already degraded himself on a cross for them, taking on their sin, guilt and punishment, and He's waiting for them to accept His invitation of a relationship with Him.
His patience is beautiful.
'The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.' (2 Peter 3:9)
Now that is something worth waiting for.