Two weeks ago, my dad went golfing in Scotland with three friends. Although they planned to return last Saturday, the volcanic ash caused a four-day delay.
On Tuesday, my mom called me. I remained silent as she anxiously and tearfully updated me. When she asked me what I thought, I tried to be tender yet truthful: “Well, the good news is that his life’s not being threatened in some third world country where there’s civil unrest. In fact, he’s actually sending pictures of him golfing. So, isn’t this just a delay? And, if so, isn’t life all about waiting?”
Life in the Waiting Room
We’re all in the waiting room – for a test result, a baby’s arrival, a husband’s return, a college acceptance, or a job offer. We wait and we don’t like it. Yet, how do reconcile our impatience with our calling to be patient?
Looking Back, Looking Forward
Christians wait by looking backward on what Christ has done: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age …” vv. 11-12, ESV. The past appearance of God’s grace in Jesus teaches us how to live presently.
Yet, merely looking backward with gratitude tempts us toward a debtor’s ethic  and insufficiently motivates us toward godly living . We must, therefore, also look forward to what Christ will do: “ … while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” vv. 13-14, ESV. Our hope in Christ’s future return in glory motivates us to live a godly life today.
Here, Paul is not encouraging us to hope in Christ’s return so that we can endure some difficult circumstance  – this is often when we think of Christ’s return. Rather, he is encouraging us to hope in His return so that we will obey.
Are you, therefore, able to say: “I know that I am prone to sinful anxiety in this situation, but I will obey the Lord in ‘not being anxious about anything,’  for I know that He will return again because He has appeared already”?
[Note: Be sure to check out the footnotes in the comments section. If there were not a 400 word limit to these devotionals, I would have put all of the footnotes in the main text!]