John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Living Between the Times (Part 3)

We hate to wait. We don't like lines at the grocery store. We don't like traffic. We don't like conventional ovens. "Take a seat, and the doctor will be with you shortly," is among our least favorite sentences -- not only because it stretches the definition of the word "shortly" beyond credibility, but because it implies something we don't want to think about:

There are things beyond our control.

Waiting is so...passive. It feels weak. It means we're not in charge of the process.

We hate to wait.

We eat fast food, eschewing restaurants that require us to make a left-hand turn across traffic, constantly scanning drive-thru lanes to see who would be in line ahead of us, trying to predict the likelihood of them being one of those "high maintenance" customers who special orders everything and presents the high school student at the window with a coupon and a two-party, out-of-state check that will most certainly require a manager's approval.

We hate to wait.

But we have to wait. The message of the Bible, the Old Testament in particular, is this: There is a God; you are not him. Living in-between times, which we do as much as those folks who endured the inter-testamental period of 400 years' worth of silence, forces us to wait.

Are there things that are in your control? Of course. You can choose whether or not you'll keep your wedding vows. You chose how you spend your money. You choose how much television you watch and which programs. You have a lot of say over a lot of things.

But you don't get to say when Jesus comes back. For that, you will simply have to wait.

Should we make good use of our time? Of course. You should be diligent, refusing to live like foolish people (who tend to waste time, killing time). You should live like a wise person, redeeming the time. You should make the most of your time by investing in those things that will last into eternity.

But there are times when you must recognize that there are a few things out of your control. In those times, your best move is to do nothing for a while, to wait, to learn the wisdom of Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God."

If you will, you'll find out what a blessing it is to have some things that are completely out of your control. More than that, you'll probably find out how trustworthy is the One who holds the future in his hands.