Those who wait…

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin

“Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 49:23)

One of the great pleasures of youth is hanging around. The long summer holidays were times of meeting up with others with nothing to do, school playgrounds were full of children who would mill about. Even if you were bored, there was a dread of the school bell which rang the faithful back to algebra.

As the years pile on, the opportunities for hanging about evaporate. The workplace fills the day, and increasingly the evenings too. I once phoned a solicitor who answered his phone, and politely explained that his answer would take a while as he was on a ski-slope! Even holidays are no escape from work. Life begins to speed up, food becomes “fast” and television is available “on demand”. Coffee is “instant” and delivery always seem to be “express”. As life speeds up, patience withers. Time becomes something that we “spend”, and we hanker after results which are instant.

Yet eternity has a way of putting things into perspective. The economy of God is founded on patience. And waiting. He acts in his own good time, and the wise person is one who waits for that good time. Patience is an engine of faith, and the accomplice of wisdom. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, once wrote: “quiet waiting before God would save from many a mistake and from many a sorrow”. This quiet waiting is an acknowledgement of trust in God, and an acknowledgement that not all the answers lie in our own hands. Or perhaps we could heed the words of one John Flavel who laboured in Dartmouth in the seventeenth century: “The delay of your mercies is really for your advantage.… The foolish child would pluck the apple while it is green, but when it is ripe, it drops of its own accord, and is more pleasant and wholesome.”

Waiting is deeply counter-cultural, but God has his own timing. We would do well to fall in step.

Shine Bright!

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14) - Whatever the weather the light would flash around the room, starting on one wall and quickly racing across to the other side. The lighthouse (or was it a lightship?) was sending out its silent warning. You could screw up your eyes, but still it pulsed. Oh that our Christian conduct would shine so bright! The city on the hill can be seen for miles around, as it light twinkles on the horizon. “In the same way” urges Jesus “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

And Can it Be?

And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour's blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! how can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? - “At midnight I gave myself up to Christ: assured I was safe, sleeping or waking. Had continued experience of his power to overcome all temptations; and confessed, with joy and surprise, that he was able to do exceedingly abundantly for me, above what I can ask or think.” As you read the words of the hymn, you can sense the wondering joy of Wesley and he contemplates what Christ has done, and the liberation this brings.

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