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The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Image: Min An

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

Romans 8:19-21

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

The garden has been pulled and tilled. The boards are assembled; the lights are up. But the plastic is still in the box in the garage, the ground is still soft and squishy, and the thermometer still reads well above 32 degrees. 

Every winter we turn our garden into a small outdoor ice rink. Nothing big or fancy, just something the boys love to spend hours on outside in the (usually) cold months of winter. But this December the weather was exceedingly warm, meaning the ground is taking much longer to freeze. The whole first week of January showed daytime temps still above freezing. We’ll probably roll out the plastic and take advantage of the overnight lows and simply cross our fingers that the highs are only temporary.

It’s a frustrating wait. We all want the cold weather and the ice to be ready. 

Life is full of waiting. Not that there isn’t enjoyment along the way, but it seems like waiting is a common experience for everyone – it certainly is for people of faith. Flipping through the pages of the Bible, we find that waiting has been a part of the human experience from nearly the earliest of times. Here are just a few examples:

·      Everyone (mostly Israel) was waiting for the deliverer promised to Eve (Gen. 3:15) – thousands of years.

·      Abraham and Sarah waited for the child they were promised (Gen. 12:2) – 25 years.

·      Joseph waited in prison to be remembered by those he helped (Gen. 41:1) – 2 years.

·      Israel waited for the wilderness wandering to be over (Deut. 1:3) – 40 years.

·      Simeon waited to see the Messiah (Luke 2:25-35) – Unknown years.

There are dozens of other examples that could be used. Waiting is a part of life. But in each wait, there is the reward, the fulfillment of the hope and anticipation. The waiting, though perhaps the hardest part, is not in vain.

We’re still waiting; all of creation is. 

Writing to the church in Rome, Paul writes about the “groaning of creation” as it awaits its renewal. This planet, the balance and harmony that God created it with, is broken. Don’t misunderstand. It is still a place of beauty and provision. It is still a place of diversity and order. But it is not what it should be. It suffers. Both from the brokenness inherent with the presence of sin, and from the misuse and abuse it has suffered at the hands of a human race whose priorities also suffer the effects of sin.

What are we waiting for?

That’s the great part! We know what is coming. As we look to the pages of the Bible and the continuing work of Jesus, we see the end; we see the object of our wait: “I am making everything new!”

We are waiting for the day when, as God’s place is once again with his creation, he makes all things new. 

Think about that. 

It’s one of my favorite lines of the many things that Jesus said. In Revelation 21, after all the plagues and destruction and war and just plain weirdness of Revelation, and just before the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven, Jesus says, “I am making everything new.”

I love that. All things new. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the “new heaven and new earth” and think that “all things” means just the big package of reality. But that’s not what Jesus is saying, or at least, it’s not all Jesus is saying. There are two parts that make this important: “all things,” and “new.”

All things. Yes the heavens and the earth. But also all things in the heavens and the earth, and not just the physical realities, but all things: our thoughts, emotions, concepts. Think about that. Jesus makes new how we understand love, justice, friendship, art. He makes ALL THINGS new.

New. Not, my pants wore out, so I got a new pair just like them. But, new. As in, “Oh! this is new!” As in, “We’ve never seen anything like this before.” New, not just new in age, but new in idea and kind. 

Jesus started this while he was here in earth. Read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. How many times did the crowds say something like, “we’ve never seen or heard anything like this before?!” He’s still making things new, now, today. 

In the end, everything will be new. And it will be worth the wait.

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