In Christ—The Patient Wait

GodReflection: The Ultimate IN Sider.

The calendar rotates and here we are again in December. Our calendar plays an influential role in our lives. Throughout the year it calls us to remember special dates, important events, and times to celebrate. It also marks times of loss, failure, and tragedy.

My little twelve-month calendar of January through December is only a faint reflection of time as marked by The Holy God—The Father, Son, Spirit.

Advent is a season on the church calendar designed for us to slow down in December so we can remember. Around the fourth or fifth century Christians began to calendar a time to remember and celebrate with hope and expectation the wait that led up to God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ. It is also a time to refresh our “now anticipation” as we wait in Christ for his return.

After God’s perfect creation and Satan’s Garden destruction, God began to reveal his restoration project to Abraham through whom The Holy would grow a chosen people. And so, the wait began. The wait was for God to act. History flowed with Abraham’s grandchildren, down through Moses, the exodus, the promise land, and through King David.

God loved David and his subjects. David and his citizens loved God in return. All the while the patient wait for God’s perfect kingdom rule was in progress.

Within two generations, kings and people forgot God and pledged their allegiance to idols made with wood, stone, and precious metals. Their downward fall picked up speed over hundreds of years to the point of their sin going beyond God’s imagination.

Not even God thought His people would fall so low. At one point he concluded the best person in Israel was not as worthy as a thorn bush.

God’s chosen people lost it all. They lost their land, their children, their wealth, their health, and their freedom.

The nation signed everything over to Satan—no God thoughts remained. Prophets—spoke from God—as they shouted warnings to the wind. The people, sold out to Satan. They would not allow God’s heart to touch them.

God responds by his use of the nation Babylon to destroy Israel and carry a remnant of the people into slavery for seventy years. Treated as prisoners and slaves in Babylon, the seed of repentance started to take root. And once again the wait was renewed with hope. Slowly, God began to get their attention with a promise of restoration. He reminded the people of His promise to have a descendent of David as their king forever.

Father to son—and mother to daughter—told the story of King David. They told of a glorious time when Israel was victorious, and gold and silver circulated. Grapes, figs, and fields produced more than could be eaten. Calves were fat and sheep gave wool for warmth, milk for cheese, and lambs for consumption. Wealth was to flow again. Yes, another David would be good. And so, they waited. Five more centuries would pass. Will the time ever arrive?

I have no idea why it took so long. I remind myself once more that my calendar is shortsighted when compared to God’s sense of time. Why did the people need five hundred years to prepare for receiving the Messiah?

Perhaps, a portion of the answer appears in the lives of two women. Their hearts were completely opposite to the hearts of pre-captivity Israel. In them God found humility, love, courage, and trust. Elizabeth’s and Mary’s hearts aligned with God’s heart. The wait was over. God identified the mothers of John and Jesus. The time was right for God to act.

Now is a good time to show gratitude to God for all of the centuries of waiting that culminated in the birth of the Savior. It is difficult to be thankful for times and people unknown to me. I want to thank God for the faithfulness of a linage of people who made it possible for Elizabeth and Mary to stand ready for a special assignment from God.

In our time, the wait is for the return of that same Jesus our King and for his eternal presence to be with us on his restored earth. It will be far beyond my greatest expectation. My relationship to God will be a gazillion times better than my greatest relationship on today’s earth. All will be right for the first time in my life. My task is to wait in faithfulness and trust.

During the month of Advent, let’s spend time thanking God for past waiters. Let’s pray to Him with the plea that we might become better waiters with each day, month, and year. I want to learn to wait in patience and with great expectation.

In ChristThe Patient Wait will bring a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more . . . And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and be their God; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”  And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:1-5).  

As a fellowship of the ultimate insiders, shouldn’t that be a worthy focus through this Advent season?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on In Christ—The Patient Wait.

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