For those of us whose main assignment is to stay home, the waiting is one of the hardest things about the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many Christians, this pandemic exposes our drive to be rescuers. Surely there’s something we can do! Surely we can fix this! If only we hold enough online prayer meetings, gather enough online worshippers, fast enough, we can turn this thing around.
For the more activist-minded, this can take other forms. If only we can sew enough face masks and disinfect every surface within reach, we can fix this thing.
Of course I believe that God can be in all these activities. I have been blessed many times by online worship, and I have prayed for the online prayer meetings held by others because I believe that God can use them to reach desperate people. And I have great appreciation for anyone who is investing time and energy finding ways to serve – including making face masks. But I have a confession to make. Two confessions, in fact. I haven’t made a single face mask. I also haven’t followed most of the online prayer meetings to which I’ve been invited, as excellent as they no doubt were. If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up. And as I myself have sought the Lord, the direction He has given me is to quiet my soul, to wait on Him, and then do what He shows me to do – which may not be what He has shown someone else to do.
What if that’s the first and most important thing God is asking of all of us, all the time? What if that’s always what He has been asking of us, not only during COVID-19?
Jesus had quite a lot to say about this. He said that He could do only what He saw His Father doing. And in case anyone should think that method of operating only applied to Him, He also had this to say.
My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
What was Jesus doing between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday? We know that His Spirit wasn’t dead, because of what He told the repentant thief. In the midst of his own agony, Jesus promised this broken man,
Truly, I say to you,
today you will be with Me in Paradise.
He was waiting. He was waiting in a good place, in a heavenly place, but He was waiting until the time set by His Father, when the three days would be fulfilled. The grave was still sealed. His body was still in the grave, awaiting its resurrection. And even after His resurrection, and the outpouring of the Spirit, He is again waiting for another time that has been set by His Father, when He will return for His Bride.
The same thing applies to every believer in this age. We are waiting. We aren’t just waiting to go to heaven. As wonderful as heaven is, it’s not our final destination. We are waiting for all things to be made new.
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is your life appears,
then you also will appear with him in glory.
In the same vein the Apostle John assures us,
Beloved, we are God’s children now,
and what we will be
has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he appears
we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2
Our flesh – our old nature – doesn’t like to have to wait for things. We like everything to happen right away. But in the rhythm of Easter weekend, there is a pause between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday that mirrors, in a small way, the long extended pause in which we currently find ourselves, between the Day of Pentecost and the Day of the Lord. We have hope, we know Jesus is alive, we know He is with us, but we are still waiting.
All of us are waiting eagerly for the COVID-19 pandemic to be over. That will be a day of great rejoicing, but those who belong to Jesus are awaiting something far better. We are waiting for the redemption of our own bodies, and we are waiting for the restoration of all things. We are waiting with hearts full of hope, because we have a promise. We are promised that when we see Him, we shall be like Him.
O Happy Day!