February 5, 2019 | by: Tom Kruggel | 0 comments
TO WAIT IS PERHAPS ONE OF THE TOUGHEST OF LIFE’S JOURNEY; it’s unnatural to our Adam-condition. Since that fateful fall into the throes of deceit, we image-bearers of EL-OLAM (“the Everlasting God” [Genesis 21:33c (ESV)]) struggle to live content in the here and now, in part because we are also eternal by divine nature.
And in this fallen state our minds are persistently persuaded to venture into the future with a desire for the next, occasionally causing the now to become undesirable, much like a child’s distracted longing for the unopened Christmas gift within eyeshot under the tree while still unwrapping the given one in hand.
This wrangling to wait need not be confused with looking toward and planning for the future, something that’s not only stimulating, but sage. “… which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” [Luke 14:28 (ESV)], asked Jesus. But when our craving for what’s down the road tomorrow becomes what we longingly feel’s best, we lose the joy of delight in God’s rich supply today.
So, what is best? Where we are and what we now have no matter how undesirable it seems, or where we’ll be and what we’ll later have no matter how unknowable it is?
While the answer may very well be binary, consisting of both, one thing we children of God do know for certain, and it’s most certainly best, that “… what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is”. [I John 3:2b (ESV)]
And who wouldn’t want to be like the One who is perfect in every way? But who knows how long that will be? None of us! All we know is that it’s imminent. So, we have no choice but to wait on this earth for that earth-shattering day. And thus, we pray, “Maranatha, [I Corinthians 16:22b] (‘our Lord is coming’), quickly please!”
Until then we also have no choice but to wait for what tomorrow will bring, even after we’ve ceaselessly prayed today: That job, that house, that car, that spouse, that notice, that income, that grade, that prognosis, that healing, that salvation, that resolution, that promotion, that graduation, that pregnancy, that… dream.
Unless (of course) … we attempt to take control from Him who controls [cf. Isaiah 45:7] and fail to trust Him who is to be trusted [cf. Hebrews 10:23] - a dreadful decision because it’s sin, the consequences of which are hardly worth waiting for and hardly like our Jesus who is perfect. (Of course, leave it to a God like ours to take something even like that and turn it for good. [cf. Romans 8:28-29])
Isn’t it true that our waiting can be difficult because we so desperately want to control the situation to obtain the outcome we desire? And when we do this we are essentially telling God that we know what’s best for us, more than Him. In those moments our failing is to remember that God is the one who’s supreme and in control over all [cf. Psalm 103:19], He’s the only one who truly has power to change anything [cf. Psalm 147:5], that nothing is impossible with Him [cf. Luke 1:37], and that His ways are always higher than ours [cf. Isaiah 55:8-9]. And isn’t it true that oftentimes anxiety leads us to act because we so desperately want to feel immediate peace and contentment with the outcome we feel is best?
And when we do that we are also telling God that we know what’s best for us, more than Him. In those moments our failing is to remember that God is always good, [cf. Luke 18:19] He always has our best interests at heart, [cf. Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 7:9-11] He is altogether loving, [cf. I John 4:16] and He’s delivered our greatest advocate. [cf. Romans 8:32-35] In either case, whether to control or distrust, we almost always fail to remember that God’s timing is His private prerogative and preeminently perfect. [cf. Daniel 2:21; Ecclesiastes 3:1]
Lest we forget again, let us remember this, that our waiting is always purposeful, for with time and through time the Spirit is slowly and surely transforming us to become more like Him, even now. Whether we see it or not, “we all… are being (present tense, with continuing effects) transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” [II Corinthians 3:18 (ESV); cf. Philippians 1:6]
Perhaps the answer to what’s best is not necessarily what we now have nor what we’ll have later, but rather in the actual waiting itself. Because in the waiting, whether the outcome is what we want it to be or whether it’s not what we want it to be, we’re gradually coming to the place where we let go and trust… in Him, and that’s worth waiting for.
Thomas Kruggel is a non-vocational Elder at Grace Bible Church and works in the City of San Francisco.
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