Every year the theme of Advent never changes. In a lot of ways, it can be summed up as ‘expectant waiting.’
From Genesis to Revelation, we are given a front row seat to see the beginning, middle and end of the world. And this creates a tension because we know how the story ends, but here we are, still waiting.
There’s always been this ‘expectant waiting’ throughout salvation history. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they introduced sin into the world. The fallout was swift. But God, in His glorious mercy, promised to correct everything that had been so quickly unraveled.
In Genesis 3:15 we see God’s rescue mission beginning to unfold. God declares to the serpent that a future offspring of Eve would crush its head. There’s so much more to this passage than what I will explain in this blog post, but this declaration is known as the proto-evangelium, or the gospel before the gospel.
God declares in the serpent’s curse that someone would crush its head and destroy the works that it introduced. Enter the Messiah. For nearly 4000 years, the Jewish people lived in a state of ‘expectant waiting’ as they longed and hoped for God to make good on His promises.
In the same way, the Church is currently living in an ‘expectant waiting’ period. Jesus, the Messiah, has come and He has crushed the head of the serpent. The Apostle John beautifully reminds us that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8).
The church is now expectantly waiting for the return of Christ to consummate his eternal Kingdom. He came once and He will come again. And so, we wait, expectantly.
And not only do we wait, but we also look back and celebrate during Advent. We celebrate Christ’s first coming while eagerly looking forward in ‘expectant waiting’ for His return.
Expectantly Waiting in Kilbride
For us, at KCC, this ‘expectant waiting’ is an all too real reality. We are six months in, and I am already feeling this pull of expectant waiting. I need to repent of this but when I look at where we are right now, I can’t help but be jealous to have what other churches have: a building, a home base, a congregation, relationships with their communities and active programs that are making an impact in the lives of those around them.
But then when I remember that Jesus says to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” (Matt 6:33) I am immediately humbled.
It’s hard coming into a community where there’s no gospel foundation. It’s hard having to till the soil not knowing what kind of return you’ll get or if you’ll even get a return.
KCC is in this stage of expectant waiting. Not only do we want to (and eagerly anticipate) the return of Christ, but we also look forward to the day when a visible body of believers is present in the community. There’s this frustrating tension of experiencing the ‘already but not yet’ while planting a new church.
If I can be brutally honest with you, not a day has gone by in the last 2 months where I haven’t felt this frustration and discouragement in some way. Now, don’t get me wrong, just because I say ‘discouragement’ doesn’t mean I’m saying that I’m deterred – far from it. I think any pastor or planter would who says that they’ve never felt discouragement is lying to themselves. Come what may – through prayer, praise, supplication and plea – I will wait upon the Lord
But the reality is that it’s hard here. Not only are people’s hearts hardened towards Jesus, but their perception of ‘church’ is skewed. To the masses, ‘church’ is, simply, a building. You don’t do church; you go to church. And what’s more, doing church out of a home is a completely foreign concept to 99% of those around us.
Earlier this week, as I was driving home with my wife, I was saying to her how frustrated I felt at this stage of the process. M my heart breaks for this community and yet I don’t know how to make inroads into it. There’s the age-old adage that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ It’s not hard to image that by having a building we would have a congregation. And once we had a congregation, we would have community. And once we had community then the Kingdom of God would grow and expand. It’s hard to break this mould. And so, I expectantly wait upon the Lord.
Everything inside me screams to be at X when we’re only at A. When I look at where we are and where I want to be, it’s not hard to be affected by the subtle whisper of ‘if I only had…’; as if thinking that would fix everything else. And so, I expectantly wait upon the Lord.
Like Jesus’ Bride does every Advent - when it looks back to Christ’s coming, his life, death, resurrection and victory – and eagerly waits for His future return, so to do I look at Kilbride and long for that reality to be its reality. It is my hope and prayer that one day, the people of Kilbride will expectantly wait for their Saviour.
And so, I expectantly wait upon the Lord.
This Advent season, would you pray for us? Would you pray for God to send us labourers (Luke 10:2)? Would you pray for strongholds to be broken down? Would you pray that the Lord wouldn’t tarry any longer than He needs to?