I am sitting in the library at my school waiting for the machine to warm up so that I may laminate some posters, and it has me thinking about all the time in our lives we spend waiting for lights to change.
The most obvious is waiting for traffic lights. The red light interrupts our journey and sometimes seems to go on for ever. I expect we would find a direct correlation between how much of a hurry we are in and the slow change. Of course there are people who don’t wait, they just rush heedlessly through that red, or speed up for the yellow. Many times, more due to the alertness of the other drivers, this works out for them, but it can often lead to crashes which, in the end, make them far later than they would have been.
We wait for the light on coffee makers to let us know that our caffeine is ready. Again, when in a hurry, people often sneak their cups in the flow. This is so common that many manufacturers have designed pots that sense when the pot is removed and pause in the brew cycle. Those sneaked cups have two effects; they are much stronger than a regular cup from the pot, and they make the rest of the pot weaker for everyone else.
When picking up my daughter at closing time at her work, I wait for the lights to turn off. When I want to go to a store I wait for the open sign to light up. On New Year’s Eve people wait for the lights to come on in the Big Apple to announce that the new year has begun. At the end of a long sleepless night we may watch for the sunrise. And we Christians watch for the Son-rise on a whole new earth and heaven.
And so we wait. Given how often we have to wait for things, you might think that we would have gotten really good at it! Infants and young children, in Freud’s Id stage, don’t yet understand that they may have to wait for gratification. As adults we are much better at waiting than when we were young, and yet…
I guess the way we handle waiting depends on what we do in the meantime. Drumming fingers, constantly checking the clock, or pacing will do nothing but build stress and waste time. If we take the time to do something els the time may pass without us really noticing. We could use the time for a prayer for those people in our lives who need God’s special help.
There is really no way to cheat on waiting for Christ to return. We aren’t supposed to just stand still looking up at the sky, we are meant to make use of the time to make the present earth as much like the kingdom of heaven as possible. As we wait for this light to change, let us pray as Jesus taught us.