Remember when you were you were cruising down the highway making good time on your way home? That is until a never-ending row of orange traffic cones conveniently appeared ahead, and of course right in your lane. You carefully merge into the lane on your left which is now crawling at a snail’s pace. You see activity down the road that catches your eye. Twenty or so construction workers are behind the cones. Two workers are working on building a new exit, the other eighteen are “supervising.” A sign flashes in orange letters advertising, “NEW EXIT TO OPEN SOON.” You think to yourself, “Great, only ten years until they finish this thing…I’m going to have to find a new route home.” But then it dawns on you, “Wait! That exit will put me off the highway right at the new Whataburger!!!” You wait with eager anticipation and excitement that only grows each time you pass the flashing sign with orange letters advertising the new exit, the new way to be opened.  But alas, you will not have access to the warm, juicy, tantalizing burgers until the construction workers declare “it is finished, the work is done, and the way is open.”

The Old Testament pointed (and points still) to Jesus (Luke 24:44, Acts10:43, John 5:39). For those living in the days when it was written and for those reading it today the Old Testament flashes in big, bold letters “NEW WAY TO OPEN SOON.” The Prophets and the People of God waited in eager anticipation for the new way to be opened. Finally, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7). Jesus came at the right time and made slaves into sons. Jesus came at the right time and made outcasts into heirs. Jesus came at the right time and made the “sentenced” into the “saved.” Jesus came at the right time declaring “it is finished, the work is done, and the way is open.” What great confidence we have in Jesus! Who else have we to hope in?

Life can be discouraging. Pain, hurt, loss, failure, depravity in our culture, corruption in our country, and wickedness in the world can make the days seem dark. In Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, a young Hobbit named Frodo gives voice to this discouragement. He lives in a dark time where evil is growing and darkness is spreading. Those who are supposed to be champions of love and light and stand for what is good turn and become bearers of darkness, full of hate, willing for wickedness. Frodo, burdened under the immense weight of fighting to be a light in this dark world laments to his wise, old, grey-bearded friend Gandalf saying, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” As Christians, as people, there are many things we face in this life where we lament with Frodo “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” “I wish this pain, this hurt, this loss, this war, this culture, this corruption, this struggle, this fight, this situation had not happened in my time, had not happened to me.” Wise, old, grey-bearded Gandalf responds to his weary friend saying, “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” The Father put you here in this specific time, to serve Him now, and walk with Him through this specific time. The Father sent Jesus at just the right time, so you might have confidence in Jesus now, for your time. For the time that has been given to you, live with confidence in Jesus. Rely on the grace that He freely gives to help you serve faithfully, endure, and run well through your time.

Waiting with you,
Adam Villarreal