By Pastor Stephen Hess –
Recently Meagan and I embarked on a new journey. Many of you have heard that this spring we began the process to pursue adopting another child. A number of people have asked me questions about the adoption process and one of the primary words I use to describe it is “waiting.” Adopting a child is often a long and uncertain process where there are many periods of waiting. One must plod through the mountains of paperwork and wait for all of the applications to be reviewed and approved. There is waiting for God to provide all the financial resources necessary to overcome the heavy cost of adoption. Then of course there is waiting for the time when you are “matched” with a child to adopt—a period that usually takes months and sometimes even years.
As we are now going through this process for the second time I have been reflecting more on the reality of waiting. One of the things I realized is that “waiting” is a theme that comes up over and over again in the Bible. Throughout the Scriptures we find examples of waiting both with individuals and with God’s people as a whole. Here are a few examples:
In the early pages of Scripture we read about a man named Abraham whose family God promised to bless and to make into a great nation. Although Abraham’s wife Sarah was unable to conceive and have children, God promised that one day Sarah would bear Abraham a son. However, this would not come without waiting, for we discover it was not until many decades later that this promise would be fulfilled. When Isaac was born, Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was in her nineties!
In the book of Exodus we read about the slavery of God’s people to the Egyptians. This slavery lasted four hundred years and included a great deal of oppression. Meanwhile the people waited and waited for God to deliver them. Many people probably wondered whether God would ever save them. But “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant” (Ex. 2:24) and he sent Moses to deliver the people.
Later in the Scriptures God’s people are once again put to the test when they are exiled to the foreign land of Babylon (see 2 Kgs. 24-25). The Israelites were exiled because of their disobedience to God’s law but God promised that one day he would bring them back to their own land. Yet the people would have to wait seventy years to see this promise fulfilled: “For thus says the Lord: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place’” (Jer. 29:10).
As we move into the New Testament God’s people were in another long season of waiting—waiting for the long-promised Messiah to come. By the time Jesus arrived, people had been waiting centuries for the Messiah, which explains why people eagerly and impatiently questioned Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3). The good news is that he was the one to come and their waiting was finally over.
Yet God’s people continue to be in a period of waiting right now. We are waiting for that day when Christ will return (1 Thess. 1:10). We are waiting for that day when we will be fully redeemed (Rom. 8:23). And we are waiting for that day when there will be a new heavens and a new earth (2 Pet. 3:13).
Are you in a season of waiting? Perhaps you are single and you are waiting for a husband or wife. Perhaps you are married and you are waiting for a child. Perhaps you are unemployed and waiting for a job. Perhaps you are sick and waiting for healing. Perhaps you are a parent and waiting for a prodigal child to return home. Or perhaps you are waiting for something else. Maybe you have been waiting so long that you are tired and feel like the Psalmist who said, “My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God” (Ps. 69:10).
If this is you do not lose heart. We can see from the Scriptures that God is faithful, and he is at work in your life during this season of waiting. The Scriptures promise that “the Lord is good to those who wait for him” (Lam. 3:25) and that “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isa. 40:31).