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The Christian’s Wait

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8)

Te Christian faith is a faith of waiting. James compares the Christian’s waiting with that of a farmer. In Biblical times, the farmer depended upon the early and late rains, both to begin the growing process for the plants, and to see them to complete maturity. Any attempt to speed things along would only injure or kill the plant. It all had to happen on God’s timetable. We too are reliant upon God’s timetable while we wait for the Lord to come. Any attempt to rush God along only results in our own spiritual harm. But can we be certain that He will come?

I 1953, playwright Samuel Beckett published his most famous play, titled “Waiting for Godot.” The plot consists of two individuals conversing with each other while they wait for a mysterious person by the name of Godot. While Godot often sends word that he is on his way, he never shows up in the end. The play became so popular that many now use the expression “waiting for Godot” to mean a disappointing, hopeless waiting for something that will never come. There are some who believe that a primary purpose of Beckett’s play was to poke fun at religion and people of faith. The unbeliever thinks that the whole Christian faith is an example of “waiting for Godot.”

Smetimes even Christians can be tempted to think in this same way: “I’ve prayed and prayed, and yet God hasn’t answered. Will He ever answer me? Will He ever show up?” We worry and wonder if God has somehow forgotten about us. If He has left us to our enemies and failed to show up. If our waiting for God has been empty and useless all along.

Hw can we be certain that all our waiting for God is not some endless, useless “waiting for Godot” who will never show up in the end? Well, it’s because God already has shown up. “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5) The God who loved you so much that He showed up in the person of Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins is the same God who promises you that He will come again to receive you to Himself, that where He is, there you will be also. Therefore, the Christian’s wait is not empty or useless, but full of certain hope in the God who loved us and sent His Son to die for us on the cross.

Ad so, why fret and worry about where God is and what He’s doing? Our God shows up! Just as He did for the Israelites when they were trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea. Just as He did for His disciples when He calmed the storm. Just as He did in the person of Jesus Christ to slay sin, death, and Satan by dying on the cross and rising the third day. Our God shows up! He comes with grace and mercy, bringing eternal victory!

Lke the farmer, we are encouraged to be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord. As one Bible commentator put it, “If the farmer can be patient in waiting for a crop of corn, surely then the Christian can be patient in waiting for a crown of glory.”

Chad Seybt is pastor of Morning Star Lutheran Church in Fairchild, Wisconsin, Trinity Lutheran Church in Millston, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Melrose, and Peace with God Evangelical Lutheran Church in Onalaska.