Have you ever been a part of a group that was about to embark on a task or a journey and everyone seems to be standing around talking and nothing seems to be happening?
Suddenly, somebody asks, “Hey, what are we waiting for?”
(For the grammar nazis out there, I am indeed aware of that horrid preposition dangling there. However, you know as well as I do that it is tragically rare that someone would ask, instead, “For what are we waiting?”)
Everyone looks around to try to find an answer to that question.
It seems to me that followers of Jesus sometimes lose sight of the answer to that question.
Seriously… what IS it that we are waiting to see? What ARE we waiting for?
Paul referred to it in his letter to his Thessalonian pupils as he was celebrating their living faith:
“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come”1 Thessalonians 1.9-10
The Apostle is making reference to the faith of these believers that seems to be spreading like wildfire in their part of the world because of its richness and genuineness. He and his team had been hearing from others about how these good folks had been so receptive to the message that had been brought and planted within them.
He pointed out the change in perspective that had taken place in them. They had turned “from idols to serve the living and true God.” They had, in essence, turned from an empty religion to a life-giving relationship with God.
But mere service to God was not all that they had embraced. They turned “to wait for his Son from heaven.” Did you catch that?
Paul reminded them that they were not merely serving God, but they were waiting for something. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. They were waiting for someone. They were waiting for Jesus to return.
Jesus, according to the apostle’s teaching, will return. He will return.
How do we know? He promised. And the sign of his promise, the very fact that he was raised from the dead, assures us that he is coming back to do the very same for us. Every person that has died physically who had been born spiritually, will be, like Jesus himself, raised to an utterly indestructible, incorruptible, imperishable, eternally spiritual, physical, and emotional life.
Because he rose from the dead, he will come and raise us—and deliver every believer in Jesus, both physically living and dead, from the wrath to come.
We wait for Jesus to do what He promised. We wait for this blessed hope. We wait.
What are we waiting for?
We wait for things to be put back the way they were meant to be before our sin wrecked the world. We wait for the arrival of the reality to which our faith has pointed us all along. We wait for the shout of the archangel and the trumpet to sound and the joyous moment of meeting Jesus in the sky.
But for now, we work and we grow and we live and we love and we endure and we groan with the weight of the brokenness of sin.
And we wait.
What are we waiting for?
Jesus. We’re waiting for Jesus.
Father, grant us the grace to wait patiently, hopefully, but diligently for the fulfillment of your promises. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!