Pastor's Pen
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June 27, 2016, 1:35 PM

Where Have You Been?


 

 

 

   I have a friend with the initials, Millard Ingram, and when I call to check-up on Millard and his wife, I say, “Millard, it’s Rick,” and often he says, “Where have you been?” I tell him that I have been working long hours and that usually gets a good laugh out of him. I share that little experience because I took a short break from writing this article and I’m truly grateful to those of you who have emailed me or called me and asked, “Where have you been?”

   “Where have you been?” has a biblical ring to it … can you hear it? “Waiting” is often mentioned in the Bible and in the English interpretation, this word is represented by two overlapping concepts: “to wait for” and “to hope in” someone or something. Waiting can be quite literal as in waiting for something or someone. In Genesis 8:12, Noah waits for the flood to subside.

   Another important and, I believe, a central focus on waiting is found in the Psalms! You hear it more often than not in the phrase, “to wait for the Lord.” In Psalm 25 we read, “Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long” (v. 5). In Psalm 27 we read, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (v. 14). One of my favorites is Psalm 130, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope” (v. 5). Eighteen times in the Psalms we read, “wait for the Lord.”

   Waiting for the Lord is an act of faith that God will hear your prayers or the prayers of the people in church and will act on their behalf. But “waiting” is also a term in complaint or lament verses that says God is distant. In Psalm 69 we read, “I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God” (v. 3).

   In the New Testament, “wait” has the same meaning as in the Old Testament, such as to wait for someone or something. And I would suggest that “waiting” also has theological and spiritual meanings.  Do you remember the time, in Matthew’s Gospel when the disciples of John the Baptist come to Jesus and ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (11:3). This question is, of course, is about waiting for the Messiah that is the center of much of the Gospel’s theology. Most scholars agree that this is the central theme of Matthew, to show that Jesus is the Messiah. Here is how his gospel begins, “An account of the genealogy (beginnings) of Jesus The Messiah …”

   I have some friends who are impatient when it comes to this “waiting on the Lord.” But waiting on the Lord and the coming again of God is clearly a spiritual endeavor that requires patience and growth. I get and hopefully give some strength and patience every Sunday when I close the worship service with these words: Go in peace, and serve our Lord with gladness. And remember, out of the goodness of God you and I were born. And out of the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven.

Comfort one another with these words. And, remember, He goes with us, He promised. He said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at: rbgoodnews@yahoo.com

 

  


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