Summary: How do we wait for God? 1. We wait patiently. 2. We wait expectantly. 3. We wait faithfully.
Samuel Beckett’s play, entitled Waiting for Godot, is a satire on the human condition. As Beckett sees it, humanity is waiting for Godot, or God, to come and save them, but he never shows up. Their waiting is in vain, for although they have been repeatedly told that God is coming, he never has, and never will. The characters in the play are told to wait for Godot, for he might come tomorrow. And so they continue to wait in their dreary existence. The only prop in the play is a dead tree. The implication in all this is that there is no God and no Savior. Life, according to Beckett and his fellow Existentialists is that life is absurd. There is no ultimate meaning to existence, and so we have to create our own meaning, without artificial props like a belief in God. The tradition of God coming to earth to save humankind is very strong so that it pervades our thoughts and conversations. Beckett wants to dismantle this belief for us. He believes that many people live their whole lives waiting for God to show up, but their waiting is in vain.
However, the futility of life apart from God is more than evident in the play. The characters are pathetic and they contemplate suicide several times, even though they cannot even find the emotional energy to carry it out. For people like Samuel Beckett all this talk of waiting in hope is foolishness. God is not going to show up. We have been deceived, so what we should do is stop expecting God to show up. That way we won’t be disappointed when he fails to make the scene. Interestingly enough, Beckett wants people to give up waiting on God, but he never offers anything in its place except despair. Some people become apathetic as the wait goes on. They don’t care anymore. Some lose faith. Some become bitter, angry and hostile toward God.
But this is nothing new. The apostle Peter wrote to the people of God saying, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat” (2 Peter 3:3-12).
There will always be those who believe it is futile to wait for God. But they deliberately forget that he has already come. He came to the Garden of Eden. He came to Noah. He came to Mount Sinai. He came in the person of Jesus, and he will come again. In fact, God comes to us many times throughout our lives if our hearts are receptive and our eyes are open. There are many who give in to doubt and despair. They grow weary of waiting for God. Others like the charm of the Christmas holiday, but to them believing in a real Savior coming into the world is like a four-year-old filling out a list of things they want from Santa. It is a nice sentiment, but it is only that. Some people give into cynicism. They go through the Christmas season without every having experienced the Christmas Savior.
How do we wait for God? What should our attitude be in this time of waiting for the advent of Christ? The first way that we wait for Christ is: We wait patiently. The hardest part of waiting is waiting. Waiting involves time, and we don’t know when our waiting will be over. If we could wait a minute or two it would be one thing, but it often involves a great deal of time.