The Long Wait

One day, after feeding the main group of penguins outside, I went into the penguin den to feed a couple of birds who were dutifully sitting on eggs. In the wild, these birds would have to wait on the eggs while their mates were out fishing then trade off with them when they came back to the beach. In the zoo, we bring meals to them. Kinda like bringing someone breakfast in bed. One of the birds sitting on an egg was Liam, the very first penguin I got to name. He’s 7 years old now and has had lots of practice sitting patiently on a nest. Though he doesn’t let me pet him anymore, he will still take the fish gently from my hands when I bring it to him in the nest box. I finished feeding him and then went to have my own lunch. When I came back to the penguin den to clean an hour later, I was struck by the fact that Liam hadn’t moved an inch. He was sitting in exactly the same spot. Though we may think that an egg must have a parent sitting on it constantly, the truth is that eggs are more resilient than that. Birds will often step off the eggs for a few moments, stretch their legs, and actually turn the eggs from time to time. Still, it must be a long and tedious wait. Liam had spent my lunch hour sitting in his nest box, staring out at the other empty nests around him. He and his mate, Genevieve, would do this around the clock for 38 days. I can’t imagine having to do that.

With the Christmas season coming up, I thought about someone else who had a long wait. It wasn’t Mary who carried a baby for nine months, waiting for Him to be born. It wasn’t the wise men who had spent years studying the ancient writings, trying to discern when Messiah would be born. It was Jesus Himself. He could have come down to Earth as a full grown man, ready to start His ministry. Instead, He was born just the way you and I are. He spent nine months inside Mary’s womb. Then He spent one day at a time growing from a baby to a man. He would wait until He was 30 years old before stepping out of ordinary life in the town of Nazareth to become a traveling teacher. He would spend 3 years doing that before He finally fulfilled His mission to pay for our sins. And if that seems like a slow process, think about this:

– there were 400 years of silence between the last of the Old Testament prophets and the birth of Jesus.

– there were about 1,000 years between King David and the birth of Jesus

– there were about 2,000 years between Abraham and the birth of Jesus

– there were about 4,000 years between Adam and the birth of Jesus

Even before God created the world, He knew Adam would bring sin into the world and need a Messiah. Jesus knew before time even began that He would have to wait 4,000 years before He could make His sacrifice for us. 1 Peter 1:18-21 says, “For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect of blemish. He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

If I knew from the very beginning of creation that I would have to wait that long to do something, I’m not sure I would have bothered creating the world. Yet, John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.” Jesus created the world in which man would betray Him – the world He would wait 4,000 years to save.

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