In the few weeks I've been home from Israel, I've spent a lot of time thinking about all I'd seen. The Jewish faith tradition has been one thing that has really stood out to me. In my basic observations of Judaism in Israel, it seems like the ending of animal sacrifice is the biggest thing that has changed from the time that Jesus walked the earth and that stopped only a short time later. From my novice eye, most things are generally the same. It is a faith system filled with rich traditions that point to a coming messiah. I looked around Jerusalem and saw so many people living lives of waiting. The heart of this people group is devoutly studying and anxiously watching for the arrival of one who will save.
It was sad for me to see. The very places where Jesus walked, the very people that God chose to use, the very system Jesus grew up within, the beauty of the Jewish devotion--and yet, they missed Him. So many times I wanted to scream, "STOP WAITING!! HE'S ALREADY HERE!! I'm not sure that would've been super helpful or maybe I'm just not that bold. Either way, it taught me something. When waiting becomes the thing, we've got a problem.
It's funny how waiting can take over like that. So maybe you've caught on that I enjoy doing a fair amount of traveling. I find, though, that the longer I am waiting to go on a trip, the more difficult it is for me to really be present while I'm traveling. It's been so built up in my mind that it's hard to fathom that the trip has come. I get home wondering, "did that actually happen?" Of course it did. But it goes to show that we can get so wrapped up in waiting and stuck in what is to come, that we miss it. That's what happens when waiting becomes the thing.
Jesus told the Jewish people of His day:
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." John 5:36-40
These people knew the Scriptures. They knew the Messiah was coming and were well read in the prophecies that told of Him. Even though the One before them was the fulfillment of all they'd studied, they didn't recognize Him. They were so deep into waiting that the idea salvation had arrived in Jesus, drove them to kill the One sent. The waiting had become the thing. It's as if He was saying, "you're looking so hard for something, wanting to be ready for something, and it's right here in front of you. I AM. Don't miss Me."
I wonder how often He thinks that of me. Take my prayer life, for example.
I pray for healing and freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says: Romans 11 says that "salvation has come to the Gentiles." Salvation is here for us right now!
I pray for community and relationship. Hebrews 12:1 says,"we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses," and that I can "throw off everything that hinders." I'm already connected to a Body and part of something greater.
There are so many things in our lives that we're waiting on and have been blinded to the truth that we already have them in Christ! 2 Corinthians 1:20-21 says that: "no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ."
All of the promises God has made yesterday, today, and for the future are "yes" in Christ. He is the fulfillment of what was and the hope for what will come. Salvation. Freedom from bitterness. Life. Freedom to forgive. Healing for wounds. Freedom to serve. Peace. Freedom to say no. Joy. Community. They have arrived!
My honest encouragement for you and me today is this: If these are the things you are waiting for, stop waiting. It's time to rest in the life that's come through Christ. It is time to hand over bondage of sin issues. It's time to see that God's kids don't live that way and trust in something greater for us. Refuse to make waiting the thing. Christ is what waiting points to and He's arrived with life for you. Nothing would delight Him more than to see you live in it.