May 13, 2016 Words of Grace – Waiting
Fear and impatience can cause us to do things we later regret. This is a big issue for Christians who are called to eagerly await our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are pressing on in faith, growing in Christ-likeness, proclaiming the gospel, and serving others. We love God and our neighbor. But things in our lives and in the world are not what they should be. After a while, fear sets in. What if what is now is all there ever will be?
With fear comes impatience. Things are not happening quickly enough for us. No one else is going to change things, so we take matters into our own hands. We start maneuvering with moods, words, and actions to get things done. Sometimes it is good to be proactive, but other times we are afraid and impatient, and we make the wrong moves. Fear and impatience show up when we don’t trust God to do what he promises he will do, the way he plans to do it.
This was the problem with the children of Israel. Numbers 21 records an account of fear and impatience that caused the people to do what they later regretted. They were close to the Promised Land but couldn’t take the most direct route. They had to take the long road. Fear. “Will we ever get there?” Impatience. “Why aren’t Moses and God getting us there?” Sin. They rebel in their hearts and complain against the Lord. Regret. They cry to the Lord to forgive them and to remove the plague they brought on themselves.
Philippians 3:20-21 addresses the problem of fear and impatience. We are reminded that living in this world as followers of Jesus calls for faith, courage, and patience while we wait. Jesus Christ our Savior will return to transform our bodies to be like his and to subject all things to himself. This means he will get us where he wants us and set all things as they should be. This will happen. We will always be with the Lord.
We need not fear that evil will win or that we will be left unredeemed. We need not grow impatient because evil still exists and we are not yet what we will be. If we do, we will take our eyes off of Christ and obedience to him. We will chase after empty solutions and become distracted from our mission to proclaim the gospel. We will regret this in the end.
But there is something we do while we wait. We remain confident that Christ will return. When he does, he will make us and all things new. So with patience we listen to his voice, obey him, and proclaim him. We resist fear of the future and impatience with God and others. “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (Matthew 24:46).
Take a moment this weekend to examine your heart for fear and impatience. Turn to Philippians 3:20-21 and let it bring you to a new place of waiting with confidence and faithfulness to Christ.
See you Sunday.