Steve Wong, MATM student at Fuller Sacramento, reflects on the discipline of waiting.
“Unless the LORD builds the house the laborers build in vain.”
“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”
—Gandalf the Grey
When was the last time you enjoyed waiting? For your turn in line, to get out of that traffic jam, for that new iProduct, for marriage, for children, for your ministry to bear fruit? Me neither. So why wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Why not celebrate Christmas every day? Presents, trees and eggnog galore!
Because Jesus waited. Four hundred years of silence before his birth. Thirty years before his public ministry. Two days before heading over to check on Lazarus. Three days before his resurrection. In our age of mbps (megabyte per second), insta-rice and insta-popularity, Jesus calls us to follow him and live a life that builds in the discipline of waiting.
In the discipline of waiting we move from a “ministry of product” to a “ministry of presence.” In the discipline of waiting we notice the frail soul beneath the brave bravado. In the discipline of waiting we see graffiti as a cry, not a crime. In the discipline of waiting we confess our finite eyes, hands, feet, tongue, and heart, and in doing so we find a God of infinite affection, grace, and mercy. Waiting scoffs at instant man-made results, turns down suggestions to compromise values for victories, and turns to a God who dwelt among us, chewed his food, and waited.
Waiting requires hope for something (and someone) that is to come and trust in the one who will bring it to bear. It requires a willingness to give up our own grand visions, timings, and campaigns (which only serve to glorify ourselves) and invites us to ask, seek, and knock (which turns all glory to God). So let us celebrate the gift of waiting, and be surprised at the joy of receiving a God who speaks, works, and comes precisely when he means to.