Bible · Church · faith · Theology

Waiting, Wishing, Hoping, Thinking, Praying

I’m working through the book of the prophet Isaiah at the moment, and reading John Goldingay’s book in the series – ‘The Old Testament for everyone.’

I’m up to chapter 30. These were the words that struck me today.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!

God’s people in the Old Testament have a history of not following God’s ways of right living and justice. That obstinate refusal to live God’s way has resulted in disaster for Israel. They have in turn been oppressed by Assyria, then Babylon, and soon to come the Persian empire. But God’s hand is always stretched out to help them, if only they would turn to God once more. Part of that turning to God involves waiting. God doesn’t just respond as it were to our beck and call. God wants us to show real repentance. A sign of a genuine turning to God is a willingness to wait until God is ready to take us back.

John Goldingay writes: ‘The church in the west is at a point where it needs to start waiting (and wishing and hoping and thinking and praying) for God to return and restore it, rather than accepting things as they are or thinking they can and should fix things.

Are there parts of the church today that are coasting, not unduly concerned with how things are ?

Are there parts of the church today that are imagining that the next new plan will be the magic bullet to turn the tide on a dying church ? (We human beings do have a tendency to think we can fix things).

Maybe what’s needed is some active waiting. Maybe what is required is for our leaders to call the church to repentance for the ways in which we have failed, and are failing. I don’t know, I’m just asking.

Grace and peace.

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