Wait a minute… or 108 years
In the early hours of Thursday, November 2, 2016, the Chicago Cubs ended the longest drought in major American sports history by winning the World Series. And it wasn’t just a long wait, it was a miserable one. The last time the Cubs won it all, it was 1908. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that even though they had made it to the World Series seven times after that, they came up empty-handed. Every. Time.
There was the disastrous curse of the billy goat, there was the calamitous Steve Bartman incident, and there was an impending sense of doom that hung like a dark curtain over Wrigley Field. As a Yankee fan, I’m not used to extended dry spells in baseball, but seeing the Cubbies finally reach the mountaintop did my heart some good. And it reminded me of the kind of waiting we do as believers in Christ.
The waiting is the hardest part
Tom Petty sang it well. And he’s right. Waiting is hard. We’re not wired for it, and our on-demand culture has only exacerbated the problem. But as frustrating as it is, waiting has some serious spiritual implications. In fact, for the believer, it’s an imperative that shapes our understanding of redemption and restoration. We’ve already been forgiven, redeemed, and adopted, but we won’t yet recognize the totality of those truths until the last day. Until then, they continue as tenants of our faith. And so we wait. Romans 8:19 says that even “creation waits with eager longing.” We’re collectively leaning forward.
What are you waiting for?
There’s something anticipatory about waiting, and I think in part it’s because we know we’re not perfect. In other words, we’re waiting for something to finally fulfill that sense of longing that’s been created by sin and separation. From the child who can’t sleep on Christmas eve, to the teenager that can’t wait to move out, to the adult wondering when they’ll finally land a job that fulfills them. Our broken human nature propels us through life waiting for that one thing. We’re on an endless search, and waiting is the space between.
Wait with rest
So how do we achieve it? How do we finally capture happiness, especially when it constantly feels like it’s just within reach? Conventional wisdom says we get busier, try harder, and finally check everything off that checklist. Happiness is there for the taking if you want it bad enough. But the gospel says something far different. It says rest. Rest in what’s been completed foryou, not in what’s been completed by you. There is real lasting happiness to be had, and it comes from a faith that says rest….and wait.
And so we do. We wait for the final redemption and re-creation of all things, when our searching hearts will finally find total fulfillment in the beauty, grace, and glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Will we wait as long as the Chicago Cubs? Maybe, but it will be a far more glorious waiting, with a far more glorious outcome.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7)
Authored by NCC Assistant Pastor Jonathan Valletta