Waiting: Journeying through Lent with Noah

For forty days the rain fell on the earth as Noah and his family watched aboard the ark. Slowly, the sin-cursed world was covered with water until nothing else was visible. For 150 days after this, the ark surged over the waters of the earth. Dull views, the weary rocking back and forth on waves, and the tiresome work of caring for animals and the boat. And the waiting…

I imagine the waiting was perhaps most difficult for Noah and all on board. When would these rains and flooding end? When would God act to restore the earth? How many days would this animal barge float on the waves before land could once again be visible? That basic question that all children seem to ask on long trips: “Are we there yet?”

Waiting is perhaps one of the most difficult things in our lives. Waiting for results from a medical test. Waiting for a friend to come for the weekend. Waiting for a job during unemployment. Waiting for an answer to questions we carry deep within.

The journey of Lent is also a journey of waiting. Our world was aching with unknown waiting when Jesus came upon earth as the Messiah. Paul the Apostle tells us, “when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Galatians 4:4). But until then, there was waiting and longing and watching for God’s chosen one.

Our Lenten journey today is also characterized by waiting. We remember and once again enter into the waiting of the earth for a Savior. This journey is also a one of waiting for God to act in our own lives. God’s timetable, as is often said, is not our own. Knowing such a thing to be true does not necessarily make the waiting easier. We still wait: for relief, for our needs to be meet, for deliverance, for friendship, for freedom, for…something or anything.

But in all the waiting, we come to the Lord who is God both of our movement and our waiting. We speak from the depths of our souls the words of the psalmist:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
     making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3, ESV)

A Prayer-Reflection on Becoming Children of God through Christ

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman,born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)

To move from achieving to receiving,
earning to inheriting,
slave to child—
all through Christ, the only Son of God,
born as we were born
to bring us into life from death,
into light from darkness,
into belonging from captivity.

Now, His Spirit in our hearts by faith,
we live as children,
calling out to our divine Father,
free and fully alive,
breathing deep God’s fresh air,
secure and at peace
in the Father’s house.

Living like God’s Children

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

he-qi-prodigal-sonAt a pivot point in the letter of Galatians, the Apostle Paul highlights a new reality that has come into our lives through Christ. In Christ, we are saved by grace through faith. God’s law has served as a tutor in regards to both God’s ways and our sinfulness in order to lead us to Christ as Savior.

Now, by faith in Christ, we are all “children of God” (3:26). Whereas we previously were children under a tutor, striving to live up to our identity, now in Christ we are children with full belonging. Paul will return to this theme letter in relation to our inheritance, but suffice it to say for now that we have a new relational position with God through Christ.

Not only that, but by faith in Christ, and through the sacred action of baptism, we “have clothed yourselves with Christ” (3:27). Baptism reflects our appropriate by faith of the work of Christ, who has died to sin and lives alive to God. So now, we too are dead to sin and alive to God (see Romans 6:1-14). We have a new existential identity with God through Christ.

Continuing, Paul tells us that by Faith in Christ, we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28). This well-known verse helps us understand that the things that often divide us in our cultures – ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status – have been radically nullified in Christ. In Jesus, God has done something new, as Paul writes elsewhere, which is “to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:15). We have a new relational community with God through Christ.

Finally, Paul emphasis that by faith in Christ, we are “Abraham’s seed…and heirs according to the promise” (3:29). As Paul writes later in this letter, “since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (4:7). What does it mean to be heirs? It means that because of Jesus we now assured as full recipients of the blessings of God. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). We have a new promised hope with God through Christ.

We need to live like God’s children. How might we do that?Read More »