What has the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants longed for and waited for generation after generation? Hasn’t it been for freedom, peace, security, contentment, prosperity and happiness? Yet what have they often received, especially from autocratic leaders? Has it not been oppression, turmoil, discontent, poverty, grief and sadness (Matthew 20:25)?
Even in nations with representative democracies, people observe how politicians stand up and promise that a new administration or new programs or better laws will provide the populace what they need and want. But then the voters watch as these newly elected officials in whom they had placed their trust so often fail to keep their promises. Or that corruption, duplicity and unethical behavior arises. Citizens then become distrustful or cynical about government. Others think that better results can only come from the next election, or a different political party or fresh candidate, or through the succeeding generation of leaders. But what often happens? The same tired, old story repeats itself over and over again, while people keep waiting for genuine, needed change.
In 2006, singer/songwriter John Mayer released a song titled, “Waiting On the World to Change” in which he portrayed the sense of dismay and frustration felt by many people regarding what they see in the world around them. History records that many additional writers and poets have conveyed similar depictions. However, the Eternal Creator inspired the prophet Isaiah to perfectly express people’s deepest feelings about this circumstance when he wrote, “Therefore justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places” (Isaiah 59:9-10).
Although the people of the world are spiritually blind (2 Corinthians 4:4), our great God has revealed through His Word that they will ultimately be rescued out of this dismally inadequate condition. He has prepared a flawless plan that will bring about a wonderful society where people’s real needs and desires will be fulfilled. This magnificent blueprint will start unfolding on the very day of Jesus Christ’s second coming: “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness” (Isaiah 29:18).
God’s promise of spiritual deliverance
But until God’s Kingdom comes, the people of the world must wait for their time of promised liberation. And as they wait, did you know that there is another group of people who are also waiting on the world to change? They are brethren in the Church of God who greatly anticipate the fulfillment of His promises (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). The apostle Paul wrote: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23, emphasis added throughout).
He has prepared a flawless plan that will bring about a wonderful society where people’s real needs and desires will be fulfilled.
Christians do not idly wait for the Kingdom. Instead they zealously strive to carry out Jesus’ instruction to “preach the gospel” (Matthew 24:14), to “make disciples” and educate people “to observe all things” that He taught (Matthew 28:19-20). Since He said in Luke 10:2 that “the laborers” who perform this momentous work are “few,” we are very grateful for our coworkers and readers of the United News as they assist in the Church’s commission financially and/or with their prayers.
But coworkers and donors also have the opportunity to “grow in the grace and knowledge” of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). This is why we sincerely encourage our wonderful coworkers and readers to take their support of the Church to the next level by making “God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience” (2 Peter 1:10, Good News Translation). This can be accomplished by being baptized, receiving the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit and joining in regular fellowship with members of the Church at Sabbath services. Doing so brings numerous blessings today as they too join those waiting for the future fulfillment of God’s promises.
Certainly all of us were preceded in this waiting period by other faithful individuals who, during past ages, also waited for God’s redemption. For instance, the patriarch Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). And others who “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (verse 13).
You and I recognize, as did Christians who came before us, that we dwell in a civilization that is not of God’s making. It is a society where sin piles up higher and higher, and where character, righteousness and truth are becoming rare (Hosea 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). So while we must live in the world and yet be “not of the world,” we must wait patiently for our eventual deliverance (John 17:14; Romans 8:25). King David declared, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
Often our waiting is accompanied by troubles and trials. Suffering and adversity have always been a part of virtuous people’s lives. The travails of another pioneer in the faith, the patriarch Job, is emblematic of the ordeals encountered by many of God’s people today. Job withstood tremendous pressure but waited steadfastly for the fulfillment of God’s promises. He knew that, even in the grave, his future was completely secure. “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes” (Job 14:14).
Waiting with fervent desire
After seeing various biblical examples of those who stood firm during trials, now let’s look at what exactly they were waiting for with such fervent desire? What was so precious to them that they were willing to endure so much—including extreme persecution and even death (Matthew 5:12; John 15:20)? Similarly, why do you and I strongly reject the ways of this lawless society (Ephesians 4:20-24)? Why do we keep striving, enduring and yes, waiting? The scriptures provide the answers.
Paul explained that God “will give eternal life to everyone who has patiently done what is good in the hope of receiving glory, honor, and life that lasts forever” (Romans 2:7, Contemporary English Version). He also wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Indeed, we now await the greatest event that could ever occur in the life of a human being—that of being changed into spirit composition and welcomed into God’s own family (Romans 8:16-17, 29; Hebrews 2:10-11).
The Father will grant everyone repentance and provide His gift of the Holy Spirit.
Another momentous reason we wait with such intense anticipation is that we look eagerly toward Jesus Christ’s second coming and what it heralds for the world’s suffering people. At that time, He will have Satan and the demons imprisoned for 1,000 years so they can no longer deceive and corrupt humanity (Revelation 20:1-2). He will also install God’s divine government on earth which will fully replace deficient human rulership (Revelation 11:15; Isaiah 9:6). Christ will also begin educating every person in the true knowledge of God’s way of life (Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2). Isaiah wrote: “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Furthermore, the Father will grant everyone repentance and provide His gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:18; Jeremiah 31:33). “I’ll place My spirit within you, empowering you to live according to My regulations and to keep My just decrees” (Ezekiel 36:27, International Standard Version).
Finally, Jesus’ reign as Sovereign over the Kingdom of God on Earth will bring the peace, prosperity, security and happiness that people throughout history have long sought (Isaiah 9:7; Psalm 119:165). All those who had been called out of the world by the Father and remained faithful to Him will hear the following joyful proclamation by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). And with those words, we will know that we no longer need to be “waiting on the world to change!”