Waiting, waiting, waiting. Do you enjoy waiting? It’s not exactly an all-American tradition. Just yesterday, I waited in line for five minutes at the post office, then ten minutes dropping my vehicle for new tires, then another ten minutes later when I picked my vehicle up. And after all of that, when the store computer briefly crashed and I couldn’t give my electronic signature immediately…it was probably another five minute wait before I could get my keys. Total wait time? Only thirty minutes or so. Yet it was unusual to wait that much in one afternoon. Other than when you bring up the word “traffic,” we Americans just aren’t used to waiting all that much.
So, “What should do while I wait?” doesn’t get asked too often. And yet, that’s a question worth raising today. Because today, you are someone who is waiting. Shift gears from thinking about waiting for new tires, or for a computer to behave. Think instead about waiting for Jesus to come back from heaven.
While you wait, should you have a love affair with money? Should you power up to crush people? Is it productive to put off repenting and indulge sinful curiosities? Should you feed a nasty grudge? Should you see yourself as invincible? The Thessalonian Christians were gaining an impressive reputation because they were wonderfully waiting for Jesus. Paul wrote, “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath (I Thessalonians 1:9b-10).”
The Thessalonians, while waiting, spent their energy turning away from idols, and toward their precious Lord Jesus. They were not immersed in the lies of the world. They were not puffing up to destroy anyone who got near them. They saw every earthly item as kindling for Judgment Day, and every human being as a soul that needed rescue. God’s wrath surely was coming. Let’s share Jesus’ forgiveness while there’s still time!
Two thousand years ago, the Holy Spirit changed the Thessalonians to wonderfully wait for Jesus. And he can do the same for you. So, while you wait for a wayward child to come to their senses…or for a marriage problem to be ironed out…or for emotional pain to dissipate…or to simply figure out what the next step is…don’t turn to sick, selfish idols that get you stuck. Instead, turn to the Lord Jesus. He’ll give you the peace of forgiveness. He’ll remind you of Judgment Day rescue when you’re feeling disappointed. He’ll give you chances to speak the truth in love to your wayward child or your hurting spouse. He’ll heal your broken heart. He’ll give you purpose when you’re confused.
What a divine gift! We get to serve Jesus while we wait for Judgment Day. Enjoy being someone who is wonderfully waiting.
Prayer: Powerful and ascended Lord, no one knows the hour of your return except for you. Keep me watchful and ready for Judgment Day. Lead me to repent of my sins every day, and live for you by faithfully serving my neighbor. Steer me away from terrible idols, and instead give me joy as I wait for you to come from heaven. As the signs of the end times intensify, take away my fear and lift my head in joyful confidence. Help me to wait wonderfully, for my redemption and deliverance is close at hand. Keep me far away from indulging the sinful deeds of darkness, and clothe me with your armor of light. Lead me to enjoy waiting for you, in your time, under your care. It’s in your holy name that I pray. Amen.