Young or old, it is true that we are waiting. The psalmist said: “My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
To wait on the Lord is another way of describing faith in the Lord. St. Paul said that the whole creation waits in eager expectation, standing on tip-toes like a little boy waiting for the first unit of the parade to come down the street.
Think of the patience it took for Abraham to wait 25 years for a promised son in his old age.
Think of the years David spent running in the badlands of Judea from King Saul, wondering how long it would take to ascend the throne God had promised him.
The lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5 waited for 38 long years before Jesus showed up and healed him.
In the case of the paralytic whom Jesus heals in this morning’s text, the man has been waiting, perhaps, for a long time. Maybe he had even given up.
It is the Gospel of Mark which clues us in that this episode took place on a return trip to Capernaum. Jesus had already been to Capernaum. On that occasion, you may recall, He cured Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, and then, when the Sabbath was over, stood in the doorway of Simon Peter’s house as the sun was setting. A steady stream of people came to Him. He healed them all.
But the paralytic was not there. Perhaps he had no one to carry him. Perhaps he did not know Jesus was there until after Jesus had left.
Eventually the paralytic’s waiting pays off. Jesus arrives. His friends take Him to Jesus. The burden of sin and sickness is lifted from him.
Others waited too. Mary and Martha waited for Jesus – but their brother Lazarus died before Jesus arrived – so that greater things might happen when He finally did come.
Jesus comes to us still – in the Word of the Gospel, in the visible Word and water of baptism, in the body and blood of His holy supper. He comes to us, not we to Him. That is grace, undeserved love.
As He came from heaven at Bethlehem – as He came back from death and grave on Easter morning, as He comes to us in His means of grace while we wait, so He shall come once more.
He has promised: “I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am there ye may be also.” “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!” Never stop waiting. Jesus never disappoints.