Tuesday, November 30, 2010

waiting & hoping

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:23-25

Many good things in life require a degree of patient hope. We wait for them. It might be that long line at the DMV to get that first of teenage dreams, the driver's license. It might be the young man waiting downstairs for that special young lady to be ready for a first date. It might be the entire endless month of December, when as children we wait, knowing that Christmas morning with all its promises is coming. Good things are worth waiting for in life.

And Paul's point for Christians is that the real outcome of our salvation is known by waiting through life for that final big finish. Until the day when we are with Jesus face to face, we will groan in these bodies, waiting eagerly for the joy that is ours forever. It is in this hope that we are saved. We are saved to live beyond ourselves. And we must wait for that day.

Critics of Christianity accuse us of just living for a heavenly delusion. But that is not what we are doing. In fact, it is much bigger than the traditional picture. It is not about a white robe, wings in the clouds, strumming a harp. It is about real life with Christ, free from the ravages of sin and entropy on a mortal body. It is about true life... a passionate way of living free from all that restrains me and weighs me down. It is a hope that right now I do not see fully, yet experience in rapturous glimpses. Still in patient faith I know it is coming as surely as the Christmas presents under the tree let me know that the joy of Christmas morning is worth waiting for, no matter the cost in personal patience.

So the encouragement for the Christian is to be a person of hope. This is not a "cross your fingers" and "wish real hard" kind of thing. It is a patient belief in what God has promised. And every time I attend the funeral service of a Christian, I know what that hope is about, for that person is no longer done with waiting. They know God's true gift of eternal life in His Son. They live in hope, for hope, and eventually wildly beyond all idea of what to expect, and so will I. Wait for it... Wait for it...

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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