The phrase ‘waiting is’ is about the only thing that has stayed with me all these years from my reading of the science fiction cult novel Stranger in a Strange Land, by Heinlein. It was a favorite saying of Valentine Michael Smith, the main character in that book, a human who had been raised as an orphaned child on Mars by the inhabitants of that planet. When he is returned to earth, he causes a sensation because his mindset is totally Martian in every respect, as are all of his habits. He ends up becoming a messiah figure who starts a new religion, the Church of All Worlds. I dug up these details from the internet because, as I admit, the only thing that stuck in my mind was the phrase, ‘waiting is.’
Why did the phrase stick? Well, to be blunt, I have spent most of my life waiting for something or someone. Was my intrinsic attitude somehow an unconscious result of reading the novel, or just my heredity expressing itself, the last in a long line of men who have been very, very patient with everyone?
I have had a good apprenticeship at waiting most of my life, but only in these last years has the object of my waiting shifted. Before, I waited only on human beings and their needs; now I wait primarily for Christ. He is the only one worth waiting for, because He brings not only His gifts, He brings Himself.
Books of science fiction, especially from the 1960’s and ’70’s, tend to wander into fantasy about alternative religions, as they are mirrors of the real world in which they arise, where any religion is superior to the simple truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why is that? Because mankind is a religious animal, and we are by nature shocked and offended by a God who becomes one of us precisely to put religion to death.
And so, these novels tend to promote religions, many of which resemble those we already know on earth, especially Buddhism, which seems to be a favorite. But religion is always only man’s best shot at escaping the horrible mess we find ourselves in, because we can’t accept that to escape our predicament—sin—means death to us, death to the world as we know it. So we take our best shot at whatever it is we’re searching for.
Buddhism is man’s best shot at achieving some kind of personal inner peace, if not salvation, given that there is either no God, or He is far too big and busy to deal with us.
Hinduism is man’s best shot at achieving some kind of personal safety, now and possibly in future lives, by satisfying the need for worship of the myriad hypersomatic beings, devas, that invisibly infest the human world.
Islam is man’s best shot at achieving some level of moralistic order in society for the masses, and justification for the immoral excesses of a select few, at the cost of a total denial of human freedom, while promising an otherworldly reward for the surrendered, and threatening thisworldly punishment for the unsurrendered.
Judaism is man’s best shot at achieving some kind of personal salvation, and a sense of righteousness, given that the only God has chosen the people of a certain lineage, to which they belong, to bring everyone to a knowledge of Him, while remaining outside His promises.
Christianity is man’s best shot at achieving some kind of personal salvation, with the least possible commitment to righteous living or self-sacrifice, by formal adherence to or membership in religious associations, while trampling on the call of the one they call Lord.
In the wasteland that is this world, I have waited, and been fortunate to have met a few followers of Jesus who stand firmly on the Word of God, keep their lamps lit, remain vigilant, wait on the voice of Jesus at every moment and desire to do what He commands, and are willing to suffer for the sake of His name.
I didn’t look for them.
I waited, and He sent them.
And I too can only hope to be one of them, by continuing to open my door when He knocks and to welcome Him into my house, which I want to be His.
Help me, Lord, to seek not my own, but Your will alone, and to be willing to accept everything that happens to me at Your hands, for You alone are the lover of mankind, and Your Word is truth.
I bless You, Lord, at the assemblies.