First Larne Presbyterian Church

First Larne Presbyterian Church

An Advent Thought - WAITING FOR A FUTURE

Waiting for a Future

The wolf will live with the lamb,

the leopard will lie down with the goat,

the calf and the lion and the yearling together;

and a little child will lead them.


The infant will play near the cobra’s den,

and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.

They will neither harm nor destroy

on all my holy mountain,

for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:6, 8-9


I have prayed ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ – and really meant it – at least three times. The first was in the middle of a Victorian Literature exam when I had read the paper seven times and still didn’t understand it. I would have been very okay with Jesus coming back that day, his angels announcing the glorious end to pain and exams.

The second time was 2012, two years into being bedbound with severe M.E., waiting for the pain to stop. My prayer was a guttural groan of desperation.

The last time was reading the stories of starving children in Yemen, and the torture of Christians in Pakistan. Come soon, Lord Jesus.

Loved ones with dreaded diagnoses, the unrelenting exhaustion of work that threatens to overwhelm us, crises in identity and purpose – there is so much that can cloud our view of the world and make us feel like we have no future. When pain, conflict, stress, and sorrow flood our lives we can lose sight of God’s promise of a different kind of future.

Isaiah was a frustrated believer living in desperate times. The leaders had made treaties with evil nations because they thought it would bring them security and riches – but disaster loomed. Isaiah knew that his nation was sleepwalking into war and destruction.

God gave Isaiah a picture of hope: the distant future, which is also our future. The wolf will no longer devour the lamb but lie alongside it. A child can plunge their hand into a viper’s nest and not fear. There is safety and unity on God’s holy mountain: a picture of eternal rest with our Creator.

We are built for heaven, and occasionally we remember that. However comfortable we are right now, evil and pain can render us powerless. Our souls groan along with the Holy Spirit, longing to live with Christ in a renewed and perfect world. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re all waiting for Christ to return and make this world right.

This week, challenge yourself to take time out each day amid the Christmas chaos and pray the final prayer of the Bible: ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’ Remember the temporary nature of life in this world and Christ’s promise to return and bring true peace. If you’re despairing, it will be a prayer of comfort; if you’re comfortable it may stick in your throat. This Advent, pray it anyway.

Tanya Marlow

Author of Those Who Wait