The Ways We Wait

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | April 1, 2024

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Romans 8:23-25

I feel like I’m always waiting for something. Sometimes I see what’s coming, like day one of a new job or going on vacation. Other times, I know what to expect, but the timing is uncertain, like the birth of a grandchild or the death of a grandparent. And sometimes, I have no idea what the future holds.

I have experienced the gamut of waiting this past year. I bet you did, too. As I steep in the words in Romans 8:23-25, I’m struck that waiting comes with a caveat—the ways we wait reveal what’s going on in our heart as we hold on to hope.

Walk with me through today’s passage. God is not surprised that waiting doesn’t always feel hopeful to us. We’re grateful and still groan (v. 23). We have the Holy Spirit, yet we’re not living at home with our heavenly Father. We don’t know when our bodies or our world will be restored, but we believe it is coming. It’s hard for followers of Jesus to comprehend, but we’re both saved and being saved, experiencing sanctification in visible and invisible ways until He returns (v. 24). In the meantime, our best posture is to wait patiently (v. 25).

“Wait patiently” is a straightforward summary, but the ways we wait are nuanced. Our hearts experience gratitude, anticipation, and even frustration between now and what’s to come (v. 23-24). This affects our relationship with God and those around us. Gratitude happens when we live thankfully and generously. Anticipation surfaces as we eagerly and joyfully expect the fulfillment of a good promise. And frustration fuels hope when today’s reality has yet to reflect future transformation.

You and I just waited through the buildup to Easter. Whether you started at Lent or jumped in on Resurrection Sunday, we’re here on Easter Monday looking back and ahead. Romans 8:23-25 makes it clear, for now, that God’s children are always waiting for something—and that’s a good thing. Even though we have the Holy Spirit, our minds and bodies aren’t perfected yet. We also have Christ’s promise to return, to welcome us home in the heavenly Father’s family, and to restore His people and the world forever. One day, all this will be fulfilled. But in the meantime, you and I don’t need God to give us all the answers about tomorrow to wait well and live out godly hope today.

Next Steps

  • Gratitude. Anticipation. Frustration. Which word best describes the state of your heart as you wait on God’s promises to come to pass, and why?
  • How is your heart growing in capacity to wait well, to hold on to and live out godly hope, in the present moment? Elaborate.