April 20, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 141: God of the Wait

God of the Wait

"In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly." (Psalm 53:3 NIV)

The day in between Good Friday and Easter is known as Holy Saturday, but I always think of it as Waiting Saturday...a day when it feels as though we're on hold between the agony of Good Friday and the celebration of Easter.

Yet it's a hovering, expectant kind of on-hold. We know what we're waiting for. We know we're waiting to rejoice, "He is risen!" We know what we're hoping for, and we know those hopes will be realized.

Jesus' first followers, though, did not have this assurance on that in-between day when all hope seemed dead. They did not know they were waiting for anything. They thought they'd reached the end. "They still did not understand from the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead" (John 20:9). And it was not just that they did not understand; they forgot the promise of Jesus' resurrection altogether. "'Why do you look for the living among the dead?'" two angels asked the women who had come to the tomb to tend a body they fully expected to find. "'He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you while he was still with you...'" It was only after this angelic inquiry that "then they remembered" (Luke 24:5-8).

I wonder why God did not cause Jesus' friends to understand. Why did He not move their minds to grasp the truth of what was coming on the third day? Why did He allow them to wait until "then" to remember? I do not presume to know the mind of the Lord, but perhaps their example gives us hope during our own waiting, when we don't know what we're waiting for or even if we're waiting for anything at all.

On that first Holy Saturday, the greatest day in human history was just on the other side of their waiting, but those early Christ-followers didn't know it. And neither do we know what kind of new life, victory, or indescribable joy lies just on the other side of our waiting.

But we can know this: God is working while we're waiting.

"I know of no more steadying hope on which to focus my mind when circumstances tempt me to wonder why God doesn't 'do something.' He is always doing something—the very best thing, the thing we ourselves would certainly choose if we knew the end from the beginning" (Elisabeth Elliot, "A Lamp for My Feet").

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!