Ok, ok. I know I wrote just two months ago about patience. And you’d be right in thinking there’s a fair bit of overlap between waiting and patience (although one may involve a greater element of choice than the other…)
But a few things pointed me in the direction of a little blog on waiting. First, we’re drawing the OT series to a close. Second, there’s something new to come with regard to this website. Third, in my life, there’s a period of ‘waiting’ as we as a family make the move to a new church. Waiting to settle, waiting to get involved, waiting to discover God’s plan.
Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi all have something to say about waiting. What are the people waiting for? And how are they acting while they wait? Haggai calls the people to build God’s house again. They need to put Him at the centre of their lives. The temple is the place where God dwells. Are we building the church as we wait for what is to come, or are we simply getting on with life? Are we just doing the 21st Century equivalent of planting vines and living in fancy houses? Or are we working with God’s people to see His glory come?
In Zechariah, we see the question, ‘how long will it be before you show mercy to Jerusalem…?’ The people are waiting. An encouraging answer is given. The wait is not over, but it will come to an end. The blessings promised in chapter 8 come with demands – work hard, love truth and peace, and so on. The wait is not a time for idleness. And then 9:9 gives that familiar promise of what the people are waiting for:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
In some way it’s a bit of a funny thing to be waiting for. But this is only one of the many promises, starting way back in Genesis, of the one to come. The people are waiting. And Malachi challenges the people in their wait. God has loved them, but have they truly loved God? Are they still waiting with eager anticipation, or have they merely slipped into a going-through-the-motions routine. And what of us? How are we waiting?
And then there’s the gap. The 400 years of waiting. Silence. Nothing to hear but the words of the past, nothing to see but the people of God, waiting. And then, suddenly, the wait is over. God arrives. There’s a messenger, and even a fanfare, but God’s arrival is actually pretty subdued. But the wait has finally come to an end.
We, too, are in a time of waiting. It’s easy to let God slip from the centre of our lives. It’s easy to forget the breathtaking blessings that are promised. It’s easy to be busy in life, but idle in the things that matter. It’s easy to lose the eagerness, and slip into a routine. The wait has been so very long, after all. But we must remember what we are waiting for. We must remember how to wait, and what to do while we’re waiting.
And when the wait is finally over, oh, that will be a fine thing indeed. Glory, glory, glory.