My family and I recently watched “The Riot and the Dance: Water.” If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s streaming (for free) on VidAngel, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Our kids loved it, and Aimee and I found it quite moving. Here’s the trailer:
At around the 1:22 point in the trailer, you can hear a song start to play, a song that also features in the movie itself. That song is “She Waits” by the Gray Havens, and its lyrics are a poetic reflection on Romans 8:19-21: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Here is the song in its entirety, followed by some of its lyrics:
Dressed in chains, now she waits
Looking back upon that day
When the dawn first held its gaze
Upon the son and the daughter’s face
But strange now it seems
Like some dark and distant dream
Still, she hopes and longs to be
Once again, and finally free
So she waits, she waits
So she waits, she waits
She’s seen empires come and go
Watched the kingdom’s children grow
Sparks and embers far from home
Born to shine, and to behold
‘Cause on her chain is a lock and the key
Is the radiance she will see
From the light that’s gonna be
Cast from the sons and the daughters free
She’s a captive ’til she sees“She Waits” by Benji Cowart & Dave Radford
By the morning light
Redeemed sons and daughters
This song has gripped me in recent days. Not only is it beautiful and moving, but the way it portrays creation waiting is particularly meaningful in this season.
Most of us are waiting. We are waiting for the lockdown to be over. We are waiting for a cure for COVID-19 to be discovered. We are waiting for “normal” to come back to us again.
But in reality, this present pause is just one tiny part of a much bigger wait, a period of waiting which began in the Garden and continues to this day. It’s the waiting of creation. The waiting for all of God’s promises to come to fulfillment. The waiting for Jesus to return and His people to be resurrected and revealed in glory.
Creation does not wait for this alone. “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:23-25).
This waiting really puts our present waiting into perspective. COVID-19 will pass. That wait will be over in a relatively short time. But our real wait will continue: our eager “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
Are you waiting for this? Is your life built around this wait, shaped by it? This waiting is not like many other waits we’ve experienced here on earth. It’s not like waiting in line or waiting on hold. It’s an active waiting, a waiting that propels us to good works (Matthew 24:36-25:30, Titus 2:11-13, 1 Peter 1:13-21).
Today, creation waits. Our present circumstances present us with a beautiful opportunity to intentionally join in that waiting, fixing our eyes on what’s ahead and saying, in some of the last words in the Bible, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).