Thursday, September 22, 2011

 Waiting & Watching

Deus habit horas et moras”  ("God has his hour and delay”)Latin Proverb

Ethiopia and Egypt were in league, seeking an alliance with Assyria, endangering Judah and Jerusalem. Judah’s plight was desperate, yet God said to Isaiah, “I will wait, and I will watch…”
His stillness was not acceptance of this conspiracy; he was bidding his time (Isaiah 18:1-7)..

I think of Jesus—watching his disciples struggle against the waves on Lake Galilee; waiting for three days while Lazarus languished in the grave. Was he unaware? Did he care? Of course he cared! He was watching and waiting for the right time.

The Bible is filled with God’s delays, many of which are inexplicable from our point of view. Yet, every delay flows from the depths of his wisdom and love. If nothing else, delay, if we accept it, can produce the quieter virtues— humility, patience, endurance, and persistence in well doing—those qualities of life that are the last to be learned. But, “in the fullness of time,” to use that good old biblical refrain, God will arise for our salvation. “We ‘wait for the morning,’ which is to say that we wait in hope. We wait while we are being ‘ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven’” (Eugene Petterson, The Jesus Way.)

Are you in distress? Does our Lord seem distant and detached? He is not indifferent to your plight, nor is he unmoved by your pleas. He is watching and waiting while his purposes are achieved in you and in others. Then, at the right moment—in this life or the next—he will appear (Isaiah 18:5-7).[1] “God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time.”[2]


[1] The imagery is that of a wise vinedresser who knows the proper time of the year to prune his vines. God thus bides his time until the appropriate moment to prune away those who oppose his purposes.
[2] Someone said this years ago and it stuck in my mind.

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