Throughout the Scriptures the Lord calls us to wait for him. “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14). “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 21). As Christians, God has given us many precious promises in his Word, promises that cause our hearts to long for their fulfillment. Resurrection from the dead! A new heavens and new earth! Righteousness and peace reigning forever! Jesus appearing in glory! Oh, how we yearn for these promises to come to pass.
But as long as God will have us in this world, and as long as God’s appointed time for the end of all things is yet to come, we wait. We wait as we live in a world where so often unrighteousness and evil flourish. We wait as we struggle with our sin, our weakness, our mortality. If we enjoyed the fullness and perfection of God’s blessing in the here and now, there would be no room for faith (Romans 8:24). But by faith we look to God to complete the good work he’s begun in us (Philippians 1:6).
Incredibly, God also waits. In Isaiah 30:18, the prophet declares, “… the LORD waits to be gracious to you.” Why was the Lord waiting to be gracious to the people of Judah? Before he could bless them with his grace and favor, he had to carry out his righteous judgment against them for their sin and unbelief. But – if we may speak in this way – the Lord looked forward to a better day, when he could shower his faithful remnant with his love and cause the light of face to shine upon them.
Of course, God’s waiting is not like ours. We wait as those who have no control over God’s timing and work. But God “waits” in the sense that he carries out his purposes according to his divine wisdom. All that he does, he does in his own perfect timing; he’s never a moment too soon or too late. In Isaiah’s day, the Lord first to carry out his judgment before he could act graciously towards his people. In our day, God is working to bring to salvation each one of his elect. When the last is brought in, then our Savior will return and our waiting, and God’s waiting, will be over. We shall then enter into the fullness of that glorious redemption God planned for us from all eternity.
Soli Deo Gloria!