In this passage, I’ll describe the concept of ‘watching’ a little more, and how our act of ‘watching’ as Christ-believers as naturally requires components of waiting and patience. I believe that many Christians in the current day will relate with the context and background presented here in which true disciples of Christ are waiting for our Lord’s appearance.
While we wait patiently on God, many of us do so within the following environment and context:
In the time of his own waiting and trials, King David prayed, “May integrity and uprightness protect me” (Ps 25:21). In his Psalm (37), David provided a stark contrast between the wicked who pursue and falsely persecute versus those who stand in righteousness, endure and do not stumble. During this period, David found it important to, “Wait for the Lord and keep his way” (Ps. 37:34), as well as not to be worried or to fret when the evil ones carry out their “wicked schemes.” Jesus and his disciples themselves also warned us against various temptations and trials expected to come in these end times.
King David, in the midst of his own persecution, was joyful and confident that righteousness and justice would ultimately prevail. This sustained him. He recognized that God only was his judge, and the keeper of his soul, and remarked, “Against you and you only have I sinned” (Ps 51:4).
In doing His work
In our process of waiting, we should still be about doing the Lord’s work. In the book of Matthew (Ch. 24), Jesus then remarks about keeping watch for his coming being like an owner of a house watching for a thief in the night, Jesus remarks additionally about a faithful and wise servant who a homeowner has put in charge to, “give other servants their food.” Here, Jesus says, “It will be good for that servant whose homeowner finds him doing so when he returns.” The ‘food’ given by the wise servant here is spiritual food. It is equivalent to Jesus telling Peter several times, “feed my sheep.”
Similarly, in the Parable of the Talents, we know that the servants who put their money (capital) to work on behalf of the owner were the “good and faithful” servants. These benefited even more when the owner returned; thus, demonstrating the general principle that those who desire to enter the kingdom of God and earn its rewards should be about its work in the meantime.
In persecution, hardships, and affliction
Have you ever found yourself waiting and yearning for our Lord during times of persecution, hardship and spiritual battle? Hardship and persecution necessarily cause us to look up, watch and wait. There is no better example of patience in persecution and affliction than the prophets themselves. The prophet Jeremiah not only suffered much hardship personally but also witnessed God’s divine, devastating judgment on Judah/Jerusalem. In the midst of extremely difficult times, Jeremiah still acquiesced, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam 3:25-26).
The apostles also suffered much. Paul writes from personal experience when he advises:
- “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.” (Heb 12:7)
- “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:11)
We are ‘trained,’ at least in part, through our understanding of how tribulation ultimately leads us to a spirit of hope (Romans 2-4).
In faith, trust, and hope
Our ability to withstand the process of watching and waiting for our Lord over a long period of time is grounded in our faith. We know certain biblical characters of particular “faith-fame” demonstrated incredible patience in their waiting, including but not limited to: Noah; Abraham; Sarah; Jacob; Joseph; and David. David said, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield…for we trust in his holy name” (Ps 33:20-21).
The ever-faithful apostle Paul in his day envisioned the glory that is to come when the creation that we inhabit- a creation he observed even at his time as being in decay, groaning, and bondage- will be freed and will belong to God and his people. In already anticipating God’s kingdom to come, Paul states, “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Rom 8:25).
In prayer and supplication
Not surprisingly, the apostle Paul mentions several times in his writings the combination of prayer and being watchful. After Paul describes the well-known ‘armor of God’ in Ephesians 6, he also speaks of perseverance and prayer, “on all occasions,” along with being alert. In Colossians 4, Paul again advises being devoted to prayer amidst being watchful.
On both occasions in these letters, Paul asks for prayers for himself and other saints. He makes this request as a result of his being in bondage due to what he described as his laboring in revealing the “mystery of the gospel.”
I believe that in the present day, given the high level of spiritual warfare and the ongoing kingdom war, that we should likely also be praying for God’s people/saints. While we observe rampant apostasy, there are still those who are attempting to live a Christ-serving life and proclaim the good news of the gospel, all while enduring persecution. If you happen to find yourself as qualifying for this distinction, Paul advises in Romans (12:12) as part of his bigger message about the topic of love, to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and patient in prayer.”
In perseverance and endurance
Not surprisingly, the apostle Paul is also a great example of endurance. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul speaks of a time in the future when people will “not endure sound doctrine” and will turn away from the truth. As Paul self-proclaims fighting the good fight, he encourages us to endure and to evangelize during this time. Jesus, likely speaking of this same (end-time) future period as Paul, refers to this time as one of strong deception and division, but that the one who (waits and) endures to the end “shall be saved.”
Believers in the end times will find themselves feeling somewhat alienated and lonely in a world that has largely departed from the one true God. Believers will be left with no other choice but to persevere and endure with a servant’s spirit through constant headwinds and spiritual attacks.
In expectancy of our reward
As practical believers who are watching and waiting in the end times for our Lord, who brings us our salvation, it is logical that we envision our bright future. Chances are, true Christ believers in the final days will choose to distance themselves from the things of this world and instead turn their focus to the coming glory of God’s heavenly kingdom. While we look forward to eternal life in heaven, as well as any specific rewards, such as various crowns to be given, positions in the kingdom, etc., we will also look forward to a relief and an escape from the evil and corrupt world in which we currently live. Our escape from this corrupt, oppressive world means that we are waiting for:
Salvation– “Truly my soul waiteth upon God; from him cometh my salvation.” (Ps. 62:1)
Redemption– “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25)
Deliverance – “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Th 1:10)
Justice– “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” (Ps. 37:9)
In the end, having a “new song” (Ps. 40:3) and the opportunity to mount up with “wings like eagles” (Is. 40:31), sounds especially promising and refreshing to those who have truly been through the battle and have run the race.
[NOTE: According to much prophetic scripture, there is a particular group who will especially identify with all of the above end-time challenges associated with waiting and watching for our Lord and Savior. They will be highly familiar with suffering and persecution, and as a result, will turn back to God for their ultimate salvation and deliverance.
God’s word refers to this group as an end-times “remnant” or “vine” that represents Jacob, or the House of Israel. This group is a relatively small part of a larger vineyard (Israel) that God preserves to help accomplish his purpose in finally defeating evil on this earth, as well as for fulfilling his promise for a continuation of his people, Israel, in his heavenly Kingdom to come.]
In future writings I will speak in more detail about this segment of believers, which surprisingly is not often acknowledged or discussed by modern prophecy teachers.
Grace and Peace,
LL (Lion’s Lair)