April 11, 2020 by Makalah Hartgerink
We are all familiar with waiting. It’s that feeling when we really want something and time just seems to drag on. As a kid I remember waiting for Christmas morning to open gifts. My brother and I were always given a time that we were allowed to wake our parents. But it never failed that no matter the time, we would wake up at least an hour earlier just dying to open our gifts. I would tip toe into my brother’s room and we would wait together. We would play a game and talk to make the time pass. Before we knew it, our parents were finding us to open gifts. The waiting doesn’t stop after childhood. We have all experienced it and most people would probably say they don’t like it. Waiting is hard. It’s out of our control and requires patience.
Right now, we are in an unexpected time of waiting. We are waiting for COVID-19 to be over and eagerly wait for our lives to “resume”. We wait for a time when we can visit friends, sit in a restaurant, return to work, celebrate weddings and worship in person as a congregation. We want time to speed up and the waiting to be over as soon as possible. But what if that’s not the point. What if we are supposed to embrace the waiting?
Not only are we waiting on this virus, we are also in a period of waiting during Holy Week. During Holy Week we remember Christ’s journey to the cross. We celebrated His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. We remembered the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday and mourned His crucifixion on Good Friday. Today, Saturday, is Holy Saturday and although less popular, it also has its own purpose. The point of Holy Saturday is to reflect on Jesus’ time in the tomb. This may seem like an odd concept. We already mourned His death on Good Friday so why wait to celebrate Easter, why set a day aside to remember His time in the grave?
I think it is because the waiting itself is important. Jesus was in the tomb for three days for a reason. In biblical times these days in the tomb was a sure sign that a person was gone. Without those days in the tomb people may have argued Christ didn’t die. The three day wait made Christ’s resurrection more significant and meaningful. The waiting was essential then and it is today.
How we wait is just as important. According to the dictionary waiting is “the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time”. Waiting isn’t passive. It is an action we take. As Christians, it is an important discipline. God calls us to wait because it is an important time of transformation. Waiting requires us to carefully consider options, to take a step back and listen for God’s voice.
The disciples give us an example of what waiting should look like. After Jesus’ death the gospels tell us that they mourned and prayed together. Later on, after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, they waited for the Holy Spirit, and again they gathered together to pray and worship. They took action during their waiting. They were eager for the waiting to be over but they didn’t waste the waiting period. They used the time to worship.
In Psalm 27:13-14 David explains the importance of waiting; “I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Sometimes God calls us to wait on Him. As we wait, we are called to do so with confidence in His promises.
I have listened to praise music over the past week, and the words from the song “Yes I will” by Vertical Worship took on a new meaning. The song says:
“In the waiting
The same God who’s never late
Is working all things out
You’re working all things out
Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley
Yes I will, bless Your name
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy
All my days, oh yes I will”
God is indeed working in the waiting. Right now, it seems that God is clearly calling each of us to wait. We may not understand why we have to wait but He has a purpose and He is never late. He is working in each of our lives and in our nation in ways we can’t yet see. So, as we wait for the end of COVID-19 how can we carefully use the time we have been given? Instead of wishing the free time away, how can we use it to bless others? Better yet, how can we worship in the waiting?
I challenge us to stop wishing for this all to end and instead take a moment to embrace the waiting. Consider what lessons God is teaching you. Maybe like the disciples, He is teaching you to trust His promises. Maybe God is reminding you to cherish time with family members. Maybe He is showing you how life has gotten in the way of spending time with Him. Personally, God has used the waiting to show me how to rest in Him.
Whatever it may be, I challenge us all to reflect on what God is showing us and follow the disciples lead. Spend time today contemplating our Savior and all He has done for us. Lift high the name of our Lord who is with us every step of the way. When we do this God humbles us so that we are more open to embrace who He is and what He is showing us. Maybe then we can turn the waiting from a chore into an act of worship.
Lord, on this Holy Saturday we remember your death and the three days you spent in the grave. We remember that the disciples waited to see you again, and we too wait for your second coming. At times, especially now, waiting is difficult. We see pain, loneliness, disease and death and we long all the more for you to come and end our waiting. But as we celebrate Easter and reflect on Holy Week we are reminded of your perfect timing. So, Lord I pray that we will embrace the waiting. Show us how we can honor you and bless you as we wait. Show us things we may need to learn during this time and help us to practice worshipful waiting as we trust your perfect plan. May we never lose the eager anticipation of your coming but let us not neglect the ways you prepare us in the waiting period. We love you Lord and pray for your blessing on each of us as we worship you as we wait. In Jesus’ name, Amen
You can watch the video “Yes, I will” by Vertical Worship here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrTv39-lG4M