And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. – Luke 23:50-52
Joseph of Arimathea had been waiting. As a righteous mas, who was also a teacher of the Law, he understood what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. And he bet it all on Christ.
One can imagine his heartbrokenness. Jesus was the one who was going to change everything! Jesus was the one who was going to bring God’s justice and mercy into this world! Except, now…He was dead.
Christmas reminds us that much of our role in God’s plan is waiting. And for many that leads us in one of two directions:
1) I’ll wait on God to direct my every step. The world has gotten on this long with God at the helm, so I can manage too (this is sometimes called the “everything-happens-for-a-reason” plan).
2) This waiting business if for the birds. God, if you have a plan, I’m sure it will adapt to the decisions I make (this is sometimes called the “God-doesn’t-have-one-set-path-for-you” plan).
The reality though is not so black and white, not so either-or. Much of Christianity is a both-and proposition, which people as a general rule don’t tend to like (think of Mark 9 for example). Joseph of Arimathea spent his whole life waiting on the kingdom of God, and when it looked like everything was coming down around him and all his hopes were shattered, he still kept on.
He didn’t pray and ask, “God do you want me to bury Your Son?” He didn’t say to himself, “God doesn’t care if Jesus gets buried.” No, he kept waiting on the kingdom, and did what he knew to be right while he waited.
Read Luke 2, and you’ll see even more people doing the same thing.
We wait. But while we wait, we serve; we act.
How are you waiting on God? Will you stop if your dreams perish? Or, when the chips are down, will you turn to God and continue waiting?