December 15, 2016 – Waiting That Makes Us Wonder
“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.'”
– Matthew 11:2-6
Waiting That Makes Us Wonder…
When my wife and I were dating, I was notoriously late. We’d talk on Friday night and I’d tell her, “I’ll try to be there around 10:30 tomorrow morning.” And I’d usually arrive closer to noon. Though in my defense, I did say I would ‘try.’ I just wasn’t successful all that often. Anyway, I can remember receiving text messages on those mornings when I was running especially late. “Are you coming?” they might say. Or, “Are we still doing something today?”
John the Baptist had the same feeling my wife did so many years ago. “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” John asked. If we’re being uncharitable, we might say, “But John! You’re the one who saw Jesus and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ Of course he’s the expected one!”
If we’re not careful, waiting can cause us to question the things we’re most certain about.
Though it doesn’t have to be that way. If we channel it properly, waiting can create increased anticipation and excitement.
Waiting That Makes Us Wonder!
This kind of waiting reminds me of my wedding day. We’d spent a year preparing our ceremony – waiting for the big day. But every passing day didn’t make me think, “I wonder if she’s really going to go through with it.” Instead, I grew more excited because it meant we were one day closer. And then, the day came. I stood at the altar and waited for the door to open. I waited for her to walk down the aisle. But this waiting didn’t create doubts. It didn’t make me question things. I knew she was coming.
So what makes the difference between a doubt-creating waiting and an anticipation-creating waiting? Keeping our eyes and ears open.
Jesus combated John’s doubts by telling him, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised!” He was telling John, “I’m at work! The Kingdom is coming! It may not be here in its fullness yet but I’m preparing things. Look at all of the preparations!”
While we wait for God to work – either in answer to a prayer or more generally – the best thing we can do in the meantime is look around. Notice how God has been at work. Recall previous answers to prayer. Think about his faithfulness over the years. Listen to testimonies from others right now. Keep your ears and eyes open.
Waiting doesn’t have to drag us down or discourage us. Waiting can be a time of excitement!
We just have to wait right, with our eyes open!