Tuesday, 9 August 2011

God in My Waiting

God in my WaitingI'm 39 weeks pregnant.

I'm fed up and uncomfortable and bored.

I want to meet my baby.

I've prepared everything that needs to be prepared. Baby clothes are washed and in drawers; my hospital bags have been packed and repacked; the freezer is stocked.

What more can I do? Sit and wait? Expect every moment to be the last before I go into labour?

Or make the most of this time I have been given?

I'm looking forward to labour (weird, yes, I've been told!) and I'm looking forward to meeting our child. So, every day that ends with me still pregnant is slightly disappointing.

When will the wait be over? I don't like surprises and I'm not very good at not knowing when things will happen, so this is hard for me.

We sang Everything by Tim Hughes at church on Sunday, and I was struck by the line, "God in my waiting."

"Be patient, Laura," He was telling me. "Everything in its own time."
And so I am actively being patient.

Hubby and I are spending time together, doing things we won't do again for a while: going to the cinema, eating out, watching DVDs, finishing off unpacking our house, getting ahead on the cleaning! And I'm writing letters to friends and sorting out direct debits. Getting our house in order and enjoying ourselves as a couple, before two become three.

The best piece of advice I've been given is to have things planned for every day, to not turn down any invites and especially to have exciting things arranged for the due date. Then there will always be something else to look forward to. But still, it's hard to wait.

But with that song, and God's words, I also began to think about Heaven.

"The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, Peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)

We should be yearning for Heaven, yearning for God's Kingdom to come, the same way that I am yearning for this baby to be born.

And yet, I don't think I am.

I like my life down here. I have a wonderful husband. We've just bought a house. We're about to become parents. I have friends and family and things that I still want to do.

Heaven seems far off. It seems unreal. I want to go there one day, when I'm done with life here, but my mind just cannot get around the idea that Heaven will be better than Earth.

I'm worried that I will miss people.

In theory I know it won't be that way. To be in the presence of God will be so awesome, so amazing, that nothing else will even come close, and yet I've got comfortable here. The pain and discomfort of late pregnancy make me yearn so much more for labour and childbirth and my tiny baby. But my life is comfortable.

So now I am torn between enjoying everything here on Earth and knowing that I ought to be hungering for Jesus's return. Should I be praying for my life to be more painful and uncomfortable, so that I will desire the release of Heaven? Will that make me too focused on Jesus's return, to enjoy life here while I wait? I don't think I can answer those questions.

Just as I was told to have my hospital bag ready from about 36 weeks, because I wouldn't know the day or hour of the baby's arrival, so we should be ready for Jesus's return because, "No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)

We mustn't be of the mentality that the end times are so far off that we can do what we like now and still have time to be ready.

I have friends who don't know Jesus. If He returned tonight, how could I excuse myself, how could I explain not having told them how to be saved?

Be prepared.

However, I know we shouldn't just be sat waiting. Being prepared doesn't mean that we should sit back, smug in the knowledge that we've done everything we were supposed to. There is always more to do for God. We can't spend all day, every day thinking 'today is the day,' because we will be disappointed and disenchanted.

We must enjoy our lives now, living life to the full. (John 10:10)

And every minute should be spent in a way that glorifies God.

And we must pray for God's kingdom to come.

We need to tread that fine line between being prepared for Jesus's coming, and making the most of the time we have left before His return.

The events of the last few months, and especially the last few days, put me in mind of 2 Timothy 3:

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Are we living in the last days? Yes. No. I don't know.

No, that's not a multiple choice question - that question has every answer under the sun.

Of course we're living in the last days.

From the moment we are born, we are headed for death. And from the moment that sin entered the world, creation was headed for destruction. There is no point in history when Paul's observations above have not been true.

And since Jesus came to Earth and then ascended into Heaven, His followers have been waiting for His return.

So, every day is one of the last days, and should be treated as such.

Be prepared, for the end of the world is nigh.

At the same time, we're not in the last days.

At least, we must expect there to be a tomorrow and another and another, so that we will always have one more thing that we can do for God.

We mustn't have a finite list of good works, of evangelism, of prayers. If we think that Jesus will return tomorrow, we may neglect to care for ourselves, for our Earth; we may become too focused on the end. We may fall prey to believing that nothing can or should be done about the wrongs and the injustice in the world, for they are merely signs of the coming of God's Kingdom.

Keep loving and giving and praying, for the end of the world is still some way off.

And for all this, we still don't know.

Even Jesus doesn't know.

So while we prepare for Heaven, we must fill our days with glorifying God and serving His creations, trying to make Earth a better place for those who suffer and those yet to be born.

While we should yearn for Jesus to come back, we should also live our earthly lives to the full, because Jesus enabled us to do so.

Because the Kingdom of God is here now.

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