Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
“To those who are waiting for him”…this phrase grabs my attention. How do we wait well? And for impatient people like myself, how do we not just end up focusing on other things or getting discouraged?
The Bible frequently addresses using time wisely as we wait, in any and all circumstances. In Luke 12 we see a manager in charge of his master’s estate wait poorly and begin to abuse his power and harm the servants beneath him. Luke 12:46 The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. Yep, seems bad. Also Matthew 25:1–13 where some of the virgins prepare to wait awhile for the groom but others miss out because their lamps aren’t properly prepared.
If I think of this waiting scenario applied to a close friend or relative, how would I do? Would I wait well and use my time as God desires me to? Or, would I listen to worldly advice like “just think about other things, keep really busy, drink a glass of wine every day”? Can I acknowledge this is hard but God makes it bearable and even good?
Waiting well means keeping my hope and love fresh and focused.
It means praying for that person I miss, sending letters, keeping pictures around and speaking of them to others. So, shouldn’t the same be true of Christ? Being a faithful friend means continuing to pursue that relationship even during times you are apart. And though physically we are apart from Christ, Christians are never truly alone since we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
Waiting well takes into account what this person we care so much about would want for us. A true friend wishes us well and hopes for a good and joyful life for us. They would want us to be open to being used by God to bless others, not just become a hermit and hide away sad and dejected. It isn’t just “making time go faster” like we hear so much, it’s really living fully and freely as we wait, being hopeful and faithful.
We are not glorifying God by numbing ourselves with entertainment, substances and addictions. We need to come to terms with the difficulty of our reality and still choose God first and foremost. We need to obey God and be faithful with the life we’ve been given. God still has plans and purposes for right now, in the midst of all this brokenness and emptiness. Giving up or wishing our lives away is not waiting well.
Waiting well is being well prepared.
Let’s go back to our friend or relative we are looking forward to seeing. Wouldn’t we keep her room fresh and clean? We wouldn’t just tidy it up and hope it’s livable 30 years later. We would dust regularly, open the windows here and there, vacuum weekly, address the mouse problem, freshen the bedding, replace the fresh flowers often. We would maintain our home for a wonderful greeting, however far in the future that may be. So it is with our hearts and Jesus return. I did give my heart to him… but it needs maintenance and upkeep. It’s not meant to be ignored for 30 years, getting dusty and falling apart.
And what if, sadly, this long awaited friend far down the road for some reason really can’t come. Would we consider our time wasted? No, we wouldn’t. We were being a faithful friend, honoring that person. If Jesus ends up returning after our lives have ended, our eager and faithful waiting still blesses Him and us. It’s good and pleases God. So we do it.
So waiting well is not really about our ease or lack of pain, trying to make time “go faster at any cost,” but about using our days wisely, keeping our focus where it belongs and daily making the effort to be prepared for His return in both heart and mind. It’s about living a life of faithfulness, living life to its potential, intentionally and hopefully
II Peter 3:9 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.
John 14:2-3 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
I Corinthians 15:51-52 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed