May 03, 2012

While I Am Waiting ...

Many of us cannot stand on waiting (including me actually :D). Yet God reveals in the Bible there are so many things in this life which includes the waiting season. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it is written:

"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven;"

And then Solomon continue in verse 11:

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."

So what does it mean? God has a beautiful purpose for us beyond our imagination. Yet only a few who can only endure it to be accomplished because we are so lacking of patience in waiting the His plans unfold. Many people settle for the less instead of striving for the best. It happens in romantic relationship, our dreams, our choice of friends, and so on. Then, how can we wait?

Waiting is a season that can be endured when we have a clear purpose and the activities towards it. When God says, "Wait," it must be for our own good which we may cannot see at the very moment.

I would like to narrow this article by sharing the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) to show you how it works :) It is been told in the parable that the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. The five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish. Let's stop here and look deeper at these contrast adjectives ;) Wise and foolish. The wise listen and do the instruction for she knows it will bring her good. The foolish may hear the same instruction but may ignore its importance. She may obey it at first but when hard things come, she wavers. The other alternative will be that she doesn't care at all from the very beginning. Let's continue ...

Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slombered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming. Go out to meet him! Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give is some of your oil, for our
lamps are going out. But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you: but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to he wedding, and the door was shut. Afterwards, the other virgins come also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Jesus' Parables could be hard to understand. At that time, Jesus ministered to the Jewish people. He was in fact also a Jew. So there are many of His parables were in the context of Jewish culture in order for them to understand. For us as non-Jewish people, we have a homework to investigate the culture He was referring to in order to comprehend accurately the meaning of this parable. I found this parable was intriguing. At that time, as a Jewish man looked upon a Jewish woman he wished to marry with, he would immediately bring his father to meet the woman's father. The woman's father would ask for a precious treasure in return for his beloved daughter. It could be a cow, or other possession. But it didn't stop there. The woman's father would also ask the young man to build a home for her daughter. He said, "Build your home first before you can marry my daughter." And so did the young man go. If he could not afford to build the house, he may build an extension room in the woman's house for them to live together. But if he could afford it, he will build a home separately. He worked day and night, cutting woods here and there, and so on. He would not meet his beloved bride-to-be as He had not finished the home. And what did the bride do while her man building the home? Waiting. But she needed to light up the lamps in her room every night and day, as a sign that she was waiting for her groom to pick her up. Once the home was finished, the groom would immediately (without any delay!) come to the woman's house to pick her up. He would sneak into the woman's house even if it was 3 a.m. He would know where was his woman's room by seeing the lamp which kept burning at the moment he came. At last, the long season of waiting was ended on joyous celebration of wedding between the two of them.

Have you noticed the connection with the Jewish tradition and the parable of the wise and foolish virgins? What can we learn from it?

First, let us look from the perspective of man and woman relationship. There are so many wisdom which are so relevant until today ;)

#1 To man: Build your home first before you want to pursue a woman

Our culture today sees a relationship between man and woman as a casual thing that can be done without 'serious' intention. But in here we see a pattern of honor. As man honor the woman's feeling, he never plays with it. He even meet up with her parents to ask permission to marry with their beloved daughter. For sure, we will not do that exactly the same in this age. Each people has different circumstance. Yet it is important to make the purpose of relationship as clear as possible from the very beginning of the relationship. If you are determined to be a friend, act like a friend. If you are determined to be a potential spouse, treat her with honor and do as gentlemen will do. Meet with her parents? It is still a very noble and honorable thing to do :) And what does build your home first really mean? It shows how responsible you are as a provider-to-be for your beloved woman. Gentlemen do able to provide properly before he asked his woman to marry her. It also shows that he is already a mature and independent adult who can bear responsibility that a marriage would bring.

With such wisdom I think that will answer "When should I date?" question by itself. Ask yourself, are you ready? Make a wise choice :)

#2 To woman: Keep waiting patiently, faithfully, and dilligently.

It takes faith to keep the lamp burning day and night during the long season of waiting. You cannot see your groom-to-be in that season. You only know that he is preparing to be with you. It takes a dilligent action to put more oil regularly. So it does not mean that you are idle when you wait. How well you prepare will determine how strong your marriage will be. It will mean that we need to develop more noble characters, be more selfless, able to do housework, and keep serving along this season.

The very important hint here is that no woman pursues his man. For it will reduce her mystery which actually can make their love keeps burning. Man pursues, woman waits. Man initiates, woman responds. Man gives up his life, woman receives. The pattern is always like that.

Now let us combine the whole connection in term of our relationship with God :) Jesus always positioned himself as the groom and the church (belivers) are the bride. Now here are what I find:

#1 Jesus asks to marry you gently

Jesus always come as a noble guest at the door of your heart. He knocks. He waits upon the door. He never breaks out the door nor window so that He can enter your heart. He offers his love to you with honor. It is up to you whether you will receive his proposal or not.

#2 He is preparing a home for you in Heaven

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you
-John 14:2-

As a responsible young man who is going to propose his beloved, Jesus promises to us that He will always be our Provider. He prepares a home for us. We can ask for everything we need (not what we wants) and he will provide for us :) What an incredible promise! Some people may think that, "Why does it take so long to prepare a home for us?" Well, because Jesus wants his home in heaven be filled with as many people as possible. Those who have been committed to be his bride to be and wait faithfully til the day he finished his work.

#3 He will pick his bride whose lamps are still burning

Our God, Jesus Christ, is holy. The lamps show those who are blameless and pure. It does not refer to be sinless for no human can ever be sinless. But it talks more about righteousness. How hungry we are for Him? How deep is our love for Him? We may rise and fall, but the true lover of Christ will keep to live in His commands. Not because of fear nor obligation, but because of love :) It also means that we need to 'pour oil' to our lamp consistently to keep it burning as Jesus comes. It means that we need to grow in our love for Him more, keep serving Him faithfully, simply enjoying and longing for His presence.

Jesus is light. He picks those who live in light. Those whose lamps have been burned out lives in darkness. He said that light cannot be united with darkness. So I think it is probably clear for us that God is not cruel to be so picky. He simply cannot deny for who He is. Holy and Light.

#4 As soon as the home is finished, Jesus will immediately pick us up

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
-Matthew 24:36-

The Bible says that no one knows when. So if we try to guess his return, we might end up in vain. But there are some clues: It will come like a thief when we least expect it. As the Jewish man who will sneak in to the woman's house with no delay as the home is ready, so will does the day of the Lord. It may be the moment when we are sleep (physically or spiritually). The key is "when we least expect it"

Are you tired in waiting? The parable teaches us not to. For there is a great reward when we can endure the season of waiting. Are you waiting for so long for a Godly man to enter in your life? Keep waiting and do your part. Keep loving and serving the Lord. He is more than able to bring His best in mind for you. Are you tired in your relationship with God? Today, we are being taught that we should be more dilligent to pour out the oil consistently so that the lamp will keep burning :) In whatever your situation, God asks us simply not to give up, not to lose hope in Him.

While I am waiting ... I will prepare as best as I can. For it is just a matter of TIME that God will bring up his purpose for each of us to become a reality.

God bless you all ...

-by Leticia Seviraneta

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