Read Psalm 130:6-8
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins. (NIV)
Waiting and hoping are core elements of Christian living. Waiting is not like sitting idly at a bus stop waiting for the bus to come. It is active. It is going about our assigned tasks believing God will provide the deeper meaning of them. It is a refusal to become panicky and overly busy. Just like a town sentry doing his rounds. He is purposeful and active, but he is watchful rather than hyperactive.
Hoping is not some vague optimism. Christian hope is a sure confidence in God being true to his promises, very unlike the way we commonly use the word. So as we go about our work of waiting, we do so in the context of hope. Just as the watchman is sure the morning will come and will be thankful for it, so we are sure that Jesus will fulfil his promises to bring all things together in him at the end of history.
Both waiting and hoping challenge our desire to be in control of things, our eagerness to manipulate circumstances. While waiting doesn’t imply inactivity, it does imply we are not in control of things. While hoping doesn’t imply wishful thinking, it does imply that what we wait for lies in a future beyond our control.
If we are to truly follow Jesus, we better get used to lots of waiting and lots of hoping.