Waiting is hard, and waiting a long time is harder. As a kid, waiting for Christmas was always hard, as proven by the fact that most of our teachers seemed to just give up the week before Christmas break and show movies. They knew none of us had the attention for a lesson when we were waiting for Christmas to come. Today, waiting for the weekend, or a day off, or even a paycheck can be hard.
If waiting for a week for the weekend is hard, and waiting for two weeks for a much-needed paycheck is harder, imagine how hard it is on us that we have waited 2000 years for Christ’s return! For a very long time people were sitting outside on hilltops watching the sky and waiting for Jesus. This is what prompted the Apostle Paul to command Christians to get to work and do something rather than spending all day sitting on a hill waiting for Jesus and all night mooching off of family and friends for food and a bed.
Eventually, people gave up watching the sky and got back to business as usual, but with the assurance that He would return soon. Then it became a theological dogma that Christ would return, and everyone believed it would be during their lifetime, just not this week. And eventually we came along, the first generation to NOT believe that Christ was returning in our lifetimes.
So today we proclaim that Christ is coming again, but we don’t believe we’ll see it. We raise our hands in despair at the world around us and cry, “come, Lord Jesus!” but it’s not a prayer we believe will be answered on the spot. So what do we do with teachings like this from Jesus, who says, “wait expectantly”? Waiting is hard, and long waiting is harder.
The bad news is that we must be disciplines to continue waiting expectantly regardless of how we feel or even believe. The good news is that Jesus has promised His return, and when He does return, He will bring redemption with Him. We will see this world redeemed into the New Earth of Revelation.
And I for one can’t wait.