“For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” — Galatians 5:5
How often have you encountered times of waiting? It could be specific situations or even seasons that seem to never end. We loathe waiting. Our culture even demands double drive-thrus at restaurants with pleasant employees holding iPads in the rain to speed up our orders of chicken sandwiches. Oh, we may not admit it, but the struggle is real. I’m currently in a season of waiting that has challenged my faith and grown me in ways I likely won’t see until this season is over. But let’s look at how the gospel is permeated with seasons of waiting.
We’re all familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. Life was a paradise. Then the serpent came, and man fell prey to his ways, causing the original sin. In Genesis 3:15, we hear God deliver the consequences to the serpent, Satan, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Adam and Eve heard this—as they were also receiving from God the consequences of their sin. Even then, they surely thought “how long before this serpent’s head will be crushed?” God was speaking of a future Rescuer, and likely, Adam and Eve longed and waited for that glorious day.
Since we have the Scriptures, we know that the Rescuer wouldn’t come quickly but thousands of years later. Isaiah 11 prophesies of the “shoot that will grow from the stump of Jesse.” This Shoot was to be a banner for His people, and His resting place was to be glorious. If you read the Old Testament, you’ll learn of God’s chosen people—the Israelites. They went from captivity to freedom led by a stuttering leader, crossed the Red Sea on dry land, and eventually entered the Promised Land. Continually they were disobedient, yet God was faithful. He had a plan of rescue. But His people had to wait. The prophets, like Isaiah, foretold this Rescuer’s coming yet surely those disobedient chosen ones wondered, “how long?” The wait was arduous, and some doubted a Messiah would ever come.
Then, just as God had promised, when the fullness of time had come, Jesus was born. Born in a smelly barn with the animals, the Rescuer had arrived. But as a baby? How unconventional for a King. Yet after all the waiting, God’s Plan was unfolding just as He designed it. One person who had waited excitedly for this day was Simeon. When he held the baby Jesus, he said, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples — a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.” Simeon’s waiting was over.
For the next 33 years, Jesus would minister on this earth, culminating in what we celebrate as Easter—His death and resurrection. How can this be? The Rescuer had come and now was gone. . . but not dead. He is risen!! Jesus had told His disciples, “if I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”
Lots of questions followed. Yet over time, even after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples came to understand Jesus’ words, and the gospel spread. But another wait began. The wait for Christ’s return.
Today as believers we are still waiting for His return. Many a day we may utter “even so, Lord Jesus come quickly.” We wait. But not without hope. Life after the cross brings us hope and waiting. Yet we see the thread of waiting through the gospel story. As we wait with anticipation, may we be bold in sharing the good news that brings the hope of Christ.