This article is part of Brother Jerry Valenti’s series on the Life of Jesus.
You’ve probably seen this type of scene in a movie or TV show at some point:
Two or three people are outside of a building and something dangerous may be inside — perhaps killers or some other danger. The hero announces he is going inside, but he wants the others to be safe so he tells them, “Wait here and if I’m not back in 20 minutes, get out of here fast and call the police.”
Of course, in a movie, we know that the hero is not going to be killed, so the people outside can just wait things out and everything will be OK.
If it was real life, however, waiting would be very difficult, not knowing what’s going to happen. How long should the people wait before taking some type of action?
I remember one particular movie that made fun of the above type of scene. In this one, the hero is about to enter a crime scene that is obviously safe — everyone can see clearly into it. So, the goofy hero turns to everyone and says, “If I’m not back in five minutes…just wait longer.”
The scenarios described above depict two different types of waiting.
Clearly, the worst is when you don’t know what’s going to happen. In those cases, anxiety and uncertainty increase as time passes. You find yourself questioning whether you should stay the course (and wait) or take some other type of action.
On the other hand, if you know what the outcome will be, it’s just a matter of having patience. Granted, patience can be a challenge at times, but at least there’s no need for anxiety or uncertainty. And it should be easier to stay the course since you know where you’re headed.
The More We Trust God, the Easier the Wait
When it comes to the things of God, our ability to wait on God is directly proportional to how much we believe in God’s promises. If our confidence in God’s promises starts to wane, we may find ourselves taking matters into our own hands and taking actions that may not be consistent with what God is planning to do.
For example, in Genesis, Abraham and Sarah waited many years for the son that God promised them. They finally got tired of waiting and arranged for Abraham to have a son with Sarah’s maid. Years later, when they finally had their own son and saw the issues that had arisen as a result of Abraham having another son, they realized that they should have waited on God and trusted that He would deliver on His promise.
Waiting on the Latter-day Promises
Today, there are certain events that we are waiting for as a Church. The emergence of the Choice Seer, the establishment of Zion, the gathering of Israel and the second coming of Christ are all future events that we look forward to. God has promised that these events will come to pass. Even though time is going by, we should not lose hope and change our beliefs.
How would we feel if, when Zion begins, we have taken actions that have precluded us from being part of it? We will surely wish that we had waited on God. Yes, it’s hard to wait. But, to paraphrase the one movie mentioned earlier — if these things don’t come to pass in the next few years, then we just need to wait longer.
It’s true that not everyone who is alive today will live long enough to see these events come to pass (since these promises are not made to any of us as individuals but to the Church as a whole). However, the believers who pass on will see the greatest promise of God fulfilled — the promise of eternal life in God’s kingdom — so they won’t be cheated.
Waiting on Promises for This Life
On the other hand, there may be occasions when God does tell you in some way that a certain event will occur in your lifetime on earth (such as Abraham and Sarah having a son). If this does happen to you, then you can certainly rely on that and patiently wait for the event to occur.
For example, Luke 2 mentions a man named Simeon who spent his entire life waiting for the Messiah (also referred to as “the consolation of Israel” in Luke 2:25). Many people through the centuries had been waiting for the Messiah but had died before He came. However, in the case of Simeon, “it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26).
So, it’s no coincidence that Simeon is in the temple in Jerusalem when Joseph and Mary bring the baby Jesus to “present him to the Lord” (similar to how we bring our babies to church to be blessed today).
Through the Spirit, Simeon recognizes the Christ child immediately and knows that his long wait is ended. He takes the baby in his arms and says to God, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation” (Luke 2:29-30).
When God makes a promise, whether to us as individuals or to the entire Church, we can be certain that it will come to pass in God’s time. Patience will always be a challenge but waiting is easier when we’re sure of the outcome.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.