Waiting on the Lord

“The waiting is the hardest part…” Thus saith Tom Petty. But waiting also gets at the essence of faith. As we accept, receive, and rest on Christ (WCF 14.2), we realize that “resting” involves trusting in God to act in time even if we don’t know when he will act. That means waiting on the Lord.

In this piece over at Tabletalk magazine, I work out some of the implications of waiting on the Lord.

Waiting has fallen on hard times in the modern world. People are in a hurry in just about every area of life, and what time is spent in waiting is filled with snippets of communication, video clips, memes, and hot takes. Most of the great technological innovations in recent history are conspicuously designed to cut down on the amount of time that we have to wait to get to the desired goal. If we can’t do something online in a matter of minutes, is it worth doing? If a package can’t make it to your door in two days or less, is the product worth ordering? Even movies are getting with the program as they are edited into tighter and tighter story beats. Have you watched a movie from before the year 2000 recently? They are so terribly slow compared to the movies made in the twenty-first century.

No matter how hard we try, we will never eradicate the need to wait, though I do fear that we will become increasingly unhealthy in the way that we spend our hours in the queue.

The thing is, to wait is human. Waiting is a part of being a human made by God for His glory. In fact, the theme of a humanity that waits on God is returned to over and over in Scripture, and here we find the context of our own time spent waiting.

God made time and called us to experience Him in it. One of the incommunicable attributes of God is His aseity, or His independence and self-sufficiency. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism reminds us, God is “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable” in His being (Q&A 4). In other words, while God has created time, He is not bound by it as we are. When God spoke the cosmos into existence, He created it as time-bound, and we are no different. We are dependent on the passage of time and cannot imagine our lives apart from it. Every thought that we produce, every word that we speak, every conscious moment exists in time. That means that waiting is a crucial part of being created in time. It is all around us whether we are aware of it or not, moving unstoppably forward into the future. Contrary to other religions’ claims or instincts, waiting is not an illusion, a trick of the mind, or even a result of humanity’s fall into sin. Waiting is a part of humanity’s creaturely nature. We wait because we are human.

Read the rest here.

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