Jeremiah 33:14-16 (NRSV)
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
“Time doesn’t wait; it unfolds.”
– Paul Nelson
Waiting is without a doubt the hardest part of the Christian faith for me. This is something I noticed in myself a few years ago. I was probably reading one of Paul’s letters, and I noticed how he expects Jesus to return. He doesn’t just expect Jesus to return at some far flung date in the future. He expects Jesus to return soon—like later this afternoon soon OR maybe tomorrow, the next day, or by the end of the month. Or maybe it’ll take a little longer. Whatever the case, I get the impression that he expects Jesus to return within his life time so long as he doesn’t die first.
And what struck me is this: I don’t expect Jesus to return that soon. I expect him to return, sure. But if you really press me, I don’t really think he’ll return in my lifetime. I want him to return, but my confidence just isn’t that high.
And that makes me feel guilty. First, Jesus tells me to get ready—to wait for him. And second, I really am ready for him to finish his work. I’m tired of the influence that sin, death, and the devil have in my life. So I want him to return. I just don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, and that makes me wonder if I expect it to happen at all.
And I wonder if the people in Babylon wondered the same thing. They certainly feel the power of sin at work in their lives. Everything’s been taken from them. And so, like me, I’d imagine that they want God to act. They’re ready for that righteous branch to sprout from David’s line. But I can also imagine them wondering, “Is it even possible? It’ll probably happen, but not in our lifetime!”
But time doesn’t wait; it unfolds. What God declares will happen and time ticks away until it does. The coming of God’s promise is as sure as the passage of time. And so, just as God rescued his people from captivity, so to he promises to rescue me. He will come. He will return. It’s not a question of if, but simply when. And as each moment passes into the next time is unfolding to make that happen. Amen.