Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Waiting, Dec 2
Preparing room in our hearts for Jesus begins as He humbles our hearts through waiting. We wait when we embrace the mystery that is the work of God in our lives. There is a deep mystery to the ways of our Father. There is a sublime simplicity to the incarnation and also a mystery to its application in our lives. To put it another way, theologians have noticed that there is an “already/not yet” to the Gospel of Jesus. For us today, it is “already” true that God the Son was born into a manger and died for our sins. There is deep joy in this reality, and there is also a “not yet” to experiencing all the ramifications of forgiveness and new life.
In 1 John 3:2-3, John expresses this “already/not yet” reality:
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
Living in between the “already” and the not “yet” requires waiting, but it is not a passive waiting. It is, in John’s words, a purifying waiting based in hope. Waiting means that we hold tight to a God who has more in store than we are presently experiencing. Rather than try to understand and control the transitions between now and then, we wait in the hope that a process is unfolding. The end of the process is described in terms of his second appearing and we live in between the two appearings. As we wait for our ultimate salvation, we experience tastes and touches of His love (“what we will be has not yet appeared”) but they are only tastes.
We are purified when we live in the tension … the tension of the mystery. We don’t have all the answers … there is much that has not yet appeared. Not knowing can create frustration or even acting impulsively but a hopeful waiting purifies. Purity is the result because we live in dependence upon Him and not the independence of self-provision.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin encourages:
“Above all else, trust the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming in you will be. Give our Lord the benefit that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense, and incomplete.”
As the people of Israel journeyed to the land which would flow with milk and honey, God gave them daily bread (“the manna”). It was enough for the day but it was not the milk and honey. It was given with the hope that something more was coming. The people of Israel were frustrated and acted out. We can be short-sighted and judge the transitions as though they were the final answer. Waiting sees the tensions and incompleteness, enjoying the tastes and touches in light of something more.
Notice those places and times today when you feel incomplete and in suspense, desiring more. Rather than try to get rid of the mystery, embrace it and wait with hope … the hope of a Savior who is going to appear.
Pray this prayer again through the day as you receive His invitation to wait …
Gracious Father, humble my heart as I wait on you. Give me the strength to stop and wait so that you can be the One who saves me. Give me eyes to see my nakedness today but then to trust that You alone can clothe me. Use your Word, the world around me, and the words of others that I might see You alone as my savior all the day long. Amen.