I love Winnie the Pooh. I loved him so much that I painted my children’s childhood rooms with characters from the Hundred Acre Wood: Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo, and, of course, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. We owned cartoon videos and watched them over and over again as children are apt to want to do (and I was delighted to accommodate them). The challenges in each episode were undefined and slightly confusing and you could see Winnie tapping his forehead repeating, “Think, think, think!” It wasn’t uncommon for Piglet to worry out loud saying,”OOOoooohhhhh! What to do! What to do!” As they tried to figure out the way out of their dilemma, they more often than not were waiting for the arrival of a wiser and more competent influence, Christopher Robin. Their problem wasn’t just the situation, but what to do while they were waiting.
Waiting is the time often between the beginning and the end of the story and, contrary to perhaps a common thread of thought, it is not a time to do nothing. Waiting is always filled with something.
Waiting is a common experience for all of us and, besides not really enjoying the whole experience of waiting, most of us don’t know what to do with it. Scripture goes the extra mile to command us to “wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:34) and extols the benefits of waiting on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). But what do we do – actually do – while we wait? Perhaps we can look at the most famous “waiting” there ever was – the waiting for Jesus to rise from the dead and to appear as the resurrected Messiah.
There are many sites you can look to which will give you a sequence of when, where, and to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. But take out the details, and we see some common themes.
- Work – As they waited and wondered what would happen now that Jesus had been murdered, people went about their everyday lives. We see them walking on the road, talking with one another, and fishing. Just like then, life goes on now even as we Christ-followers wait for Jesus’ second coming and, while it doesn’t make waiting easier, necessarily, living normative lives with what is currently right in front of us is worthy of our waiting. Work while you wait. God has given you something to do so do it – and do it well as you would serving the Lord Himself (Colossians 3:23-24).
- Worry – As they waited, doubt crept into the minds and hearts of Jesus’ disciples. We see that when Jesus appeared, some didn’t recognize Him and some doubted who He was. We can learn from these precious believers for we are so like them. While we wait to see what God will do and wait until He does it, we need to fight our doubt and worry and instead, wait with an expectancy that comes from our faith. God has promised us as post-resurrected followers to never leave us and, as a faithful God, we know He is at work for He has promised to finish the good work He has begun in each of us (Ephesians 2:10).
- Worship – As we go about our work, if we aren’t going to worry while we work, what will we do? This is where we can respond to our situation based upon what we know from the resurrection. Jesus defeated death, has fully redeemed us by His resurrection, and has promised that He will one day return to bring the Kingdom into full glory. We have an assurance that surely leads us to worship the God who is able to do so much. And our worship exists not only in the community of faith in which we gather to study, serve, and sing, but in all of the other moments of our lives. Our obedience is our sacrifice of praise as we extol to all who can hear the majesty of our great God (Hebrews 13:15).
We are waiting for our Jesus to come again. Dear Reader, what shall we do as we wait just as the first disciples waited at the beginning of the post-resurrection era? Let us work with excellence in the lives He has given to us, let us fight against worry that tries to steal our attention and joy, and let us worship with all our hearts as we look forward to the return once again of our Lord!
Blessings, dear friends, as we wait for the second coming of Christ! May we work, not worry, and definitely worship as we wait together as His disciples.
Fondly yours, Elizabeth