"How Much Longer Dad?" - The Gospel of Promise and WaitingFriday, August 12, 2005
Often times, we forget that the gospel was born as a promise. Paul wrote to the Galatians that, "the Scripture, forseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed'" (Gal. 3:8). The promise was given to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing." That promise would eventually come to pass, according to Paul, through the inclusion of the Gentiles, a massive group of humanity who was basically and instantly excluded from the covenant the very moment God chose Abraham!
What else can that possibly mean except waiting! "How much longer til we get there, Paw? Only 'bout two thousand more years sonny!" That's about how long it was before God's original promise to Abraham began to be fufilled in volume-level quantities. (Of course, it was taking place in trickling quantities all throughout the OT history.) Lest we forget, Abraham's entire life was about waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting on God to tell him what to do and where to go next. I could never be Abraham. But God has called me to this...He's called all of us to this.
What else can this possibly require except faith! "How much longer til we get there, Paw? Don't you worry your pretty little head 'bout that right now. You just sit back and enjoy the right. Trust me sonny, we'll get there." Promise and waiting require doing. And that doing is simply trusting and believing. "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going...For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God" (Heb. 11:8, 10).
To sum it all up then, since the gospel message was originally born as a message of promise, faith in that message is all about waiting on God to fulfill His promise. The gospel has always been about a promise from God. For Gentiles it has been about receiving a promised share in Abraham's inheritance, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. But before that chapter in history of the gospel-promise, there was a whole lot of waitin' around. So it seems to me that inherent in the gospel, from the very beginning, is the challenge of waiting and believing. Isn't this some of what we live for each day as we await Christ's promise to return and get us, to take us to Himself so we can be with Him forever (John 14:3)?
That's a big part of it, you bet. But that's not all. There's also waitin' around for God's continued promise of sustenance and just plain survival! That's where I'm at, as of recent. I'm in the middle of something huge, something big in my life at the very moment of typing this post. And I'm really excited about it! But what builds that excitement is waiting, namely, waiting on God to continue fulfilling His gospel promises.
His gospel makes promises that demand me to wait for fulfillment. Dadgum, that's hard to do. But man is it exciting! The waiting and trusting I do is merely painting the background with more and more illustrious, variegated, sharp, and very vivid hues and saturations. Then, when the fulfillment is (sometimes slowly, and sometimes quickly) painted into the foreground, the 'big picture' and final product is nothing short of AWESOME!
I think...no, I know that so often I have missed the 'shock and awe' at the powerful fulfillment of God's gospel promises to me simply because I have not waited and trusted. Oh, He is always and forever will be painting that background. But when I don't wait and trust, I don't notice the deep beauty and profound mystery of the background. And consequently, the foreground of fulfillment doesn't capture and enrapture me with God's grace, love, mercy, and eternal goodness. That fulfillment seems somehow dull, unattractive, indistinguishable, disguised, and...well, I simply just don't notice it at all. I miss it because I haven't just sat back and enjoyed the ride along the way...waiting...and trusting the Heavenly Father to get me where He has decreed to get me in and because of His Son.
For those who read these posts regularly, pray hard for us. When I ask God, "God, what's going to happen?", I can often hear those famous words of HAL9000 (from the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact) reply, "Something Wonderful"! I don't want to miss the Spirit's remarkably distinct leadership we've experienced here in the last week.