And the Wait Goes On

And the Wait Goes On
By: J. B. Hixson, Ph.D.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)

I had been sitting in the deer stand for what seemed like hours. It actually was probably only about thirty minutes, but to a teenager hoping to bag a trophy buck, time crept more slowly than sap on a sugar maple. Patience has never been my long suit, and waiting did not come easily in the early hours of that cold December morning. Eventually, a buck emerged from behind a mesquite tree. He was about one hundred yards away, and at first I had trouble finding him with my binoculars. It was critical that I get a clear, close-up look at his antlers because this 1,500-acre ranch in the Texas hill country had a policy that only bucks with eight points or better could be taken.

When I finally zeroed in on him, his head was obscured by a low-hanging branch and I could not get an accurate count of his points. “Was it eight? Or only seven?” I wondered. I thought to myself, “I see seven for sure, but isn’t that an eighth point on the left side of his rack?” I counted. And counted again. By this time, I had raised my .300 savage and was watching him through my scope. Each time the unsuspecting buck would tilt or turn his head, I would count again from a new vantage point. Every count came up with only seven points, yet there must be an eighth point, I reasoned with myself.

Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the adrenaline. Maybe it was just an honest miscount. Regardless, my patience ran out, and I shot a 7-point buck that morning. The guys back at the lodge never let me live it down. I was forever known as the “guy who can’t count,” or the “guy with a quick trigger.” To add insult to injury, the next day, at that same stand, late in the morning hunt, a fellow-hunter killed an impressive 10-pointer. If only I had been more patient, perhaps that trophy would have been mine.

Patience is the rarest of virtues. Waiting does not come easily for most people. As we look back at the birth of the Messiah on that first Christmas morning, we find that the promise of global peace and justice was not realized at that time. It was the eighth century BC prophet Isaiah who had foretold of a virgin who would conceive (Isaiah 7:14) and a child who would be born (Isaiah 9:6). Isaiah’s contemporary, Micah, prophesied that this baby would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Seven hundred years later when that baby finally arrived, most had already given up hope. Their patience had run out.

Moreover, the nation of Israel failed to recognize that Isaiah’s famous prophecy would be fulfilled in stages. The “Son was given” in Bethlehem, and He eventually made His way to the cross where He became the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Yet, Isaiah also foretold of a time when “the government would be upon His shoulder” and He would establish “justice” and “peace” forever (Isaiah 9:7). Clearly that did not happen in the first century when the nation of Israel crowned Jesus, not with a King’s crown, but with thorns.

In the years immediately following Christ’s death and resurrection, believers eagerly waited for His return. They understood that the remainder of Isaiah’s prophecy awaited future fulfillment. Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) However, over the centuries, hope began to wane. Many believers, in a similar manner to the first century Jews, ran out of patience, to the point where today, very few Christians are heeding Christ’s admonition to “look up and be watchful, for our redemption is drawing nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

And so, the wait goes on. As we celebrate Christmas this year, we need Christ’s Kingdom of peace and righteousness like never before. Be patient. “If we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Romans 8:25) Jesus promised to return and take the throne (Matthew 25:31). He promised to make all things new when He returns (Revelation 21:5). The world may seem like a very cold, dark place right now. Keep waiting. A better day is coming, and the reward is great. Merry Christmas!

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