Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Unfortunately, however, it always seems success/deliverance/salvation come at the very last instant, when things get the darkest and scariest, when it seems to many that all is lost.
Then, fortunately, BOOM. Something BIG happens, figuratively and/or literally speaking.
Or even something “small,” as in the real story behind the holiday we just celebrated, Christmas, where a helpless baby born in a hay-strewn, smelly animal shelter far away from the comforts of home turned out to be the One Who could, in the fullness of time, be THE One to topple the entire kingdom of deception and injustice. For good.
I mean, who knew?
As to the unfortunate element of waiting until the last minute while we make plans and work toward what the saving event might be, frustration frequently boils up and over while we wait and watch things get worse.
Because here on earth amid the eternal warfare of the mind and the heart, ideologies and ideologues, this group and that group vying for power, righting wrongs doesn’t always go quickly, and it is a rare individual or group who can sustain the kind of patience that, at length, breaches citadels and conquers nations.
Much closer to home, it is also a rare one who can keep head and heart calm while storms mount overhead, coups metastasize in nests of power, and violence threatens on the ground.
In the case of truly existential threats which happen few times in history but do happen, those who study same also know it often comes down to blood in the streets even despite the win.
Think back to Jesus’ birth and jealous Herod’s plot to kill all the infants.
The rescue might arrive in the nick of time (as it did by way of a dream Joseph had instructing him to take the holy family out of Herod’s murderous range), but still, it is hard to remember this and to use it to allay frustration and practice the wisdom of waiting until just. the. right. moment.
So it helps to remember that history repeats itself, but this time in a good way.
There seems to be a kind of pattern to the story of how good and evil eventually come to loggerheads and good triumphs.
If it were not so, the forces of evil, with all their knowledge and kinetics, would have wiped out the planet eons ago.
Many can cite moments in secular history when, though the odds were formidable, help arrived just in time as determination and supplies waned. Or perhaps when the victims were least aware of the danger they were in.
For examples, Joseph’s dream which led to the rescue; George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River–his third attempt–despite bad weather, poor supplies, low troop morale, and being three hours behind schedule; and the innumerable stories in magazines, podcasts, books, and videos depicting true events where help in the form of a phone call, a missed airplane flight, even what could only be described as an angel’s assistance, occurred to save someone or many from certain disaster.
There is also the pattern of God’s timing in the panoply of His interactions with His people.
For examples in that context, consider the arrival of every Israelite to the other side of the parted Red Sea just before it closed again engulfing Pharaoh’s army, chariots and all; of Lot and his kin escaping Sodom and Gomorrah just before the twin cities’ fiery demise; and Noah and his family (not to mention the animal pairs who also came aboard the ark) a few days prior to the great flood.
And, of course, there was the birth of Jesus also “in the fullness of time.”
We don’t know all the particulars as to exactly why it was “full,” but the prophesies cited in the link above provide many clues.
But back to the hard part of waiting and working for the win even if we remember it inevitably occurs on the right side of history.
This is where occupying comes in.
12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. continue reading…
Occupy, as in “do business.”
In other words, for believers, until such time as it IS time for the win, however and whenever He Who is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent says “Now!” we are to say, like young Jesus said to his parents (when they finally found Him teaching in a temple after their frantic search) that we, too, are “about our Father’s business.” (For more on a related theme, see a previous post.)
Whether we serve on literal front lines, in support positions, at work, home, neighborhood, or church, we are instructed to occupy, at the very least to pray, and certainly to not forget about less glamorous or heroic roles that daily present themselves when one thirsty asks for a drink; one hungry, for food; one sick or in prison, for a visit; or one grieving, for comfort.
For there is no lack of what we can do as representatives of Christ on earth in any challenging time.
But what time is NOT challenging to some degree?
And we are tasked not to give up or succumb to fear…For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
For the fields are indeed white and ready for the harvest–and perhaps now more so than ever, given the nature and timing of global events.*
So be encouraged.
And carry on.
*Many Bible scholars believe we are in the so-called “end times,” also known as the “end of the Church Age” just prior to the Tribulation. For information on this, see here.
Image of clock source.
Image of Washington crossing the Delaware source.
Image of farmers plowing a field source.