Within the past year, I stumbled upon a verse in Scripture that gave great comfort to my heart. I know I’ve read this verse before and so it surprised me when I read it before quickly backpedaling to read it again. Maybe I had always read it in a slightly different translation or it didn’t seem like it applied to me, causing me to gloss over the words. Whatever the reason, the particular moment I read it was the perfect one for it to have an impact.
Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work.Luke 3:23 (NRSVCE)
One sentence helped lay to rest some of my worries and concerns.
The God-man began His work when He was about thirty years old. Perhaps I’m not behind. Perhaps this isn’t all a waste. Granted, I didn’t spend the first thirty years of my life with the profound intentionality of the Incarnate Word, but it was a gift to be reminded that missions can begin at thirty.
It isn’t that I think thirty is ancient. I don’t. It is simply that I had assumed I would arrive at different milestones before reaching this particular one. This time hasn’t been a waste, but it is difficult to see what has been accomplished. In high school and college, one moves from one grade to the next, learning information, being continually formed, and preparing for what lies ahead. And I’m still very much on an academic calendar, with neat endings and fresh beginnings. Yet…there doesn’t always seem to be movement.
Interestingly, it wasn’t that I longed for a life filled with adventure. I mean, I did and yet I was entirely prepared for a life that was normal, ordinary, even repetitive. Oddly, it seems that doing mundane tasks for someone else would seem far more fulfilling than doing mundane tasks for myself. Realistically, I know that is simply the lie, the trick that makes one think that the things that frustrate wouldn’t if they were shrouded in different circumstances.
Jesus lived a hidden, ordinary life for thirty years. Over the past year, I’ve returned repeatedly to this reality of angels heralding His birth and then shepherds and magi and then…a seemingly ordinary child grows up. Each day wasn’t lived in a glorious ray of light. People weren’t continually falling at His feet, acknowledging His divinity. He played, studied, prayed, and lived with others and nobody recognized God was pitching His tent among them.
Did Jesus ever chafe against the call to wait? Was He ever desiring His mission to begin in a public and tangible way? Did He ever look up at the stars wondering when His normal would transform into something else? I mean, He was human (and divine) and it isn’t crazy to think that He wondered about the future. While I don’t know the answers to those questions, I find assurance in the reality that Jesus knows what it is like to wait. And I am reassured knowing that waiting was part of the plan.
At every age, the Lord desires to do something new with us. He is always beginning something new in us. We may grow tired of waiting or frustrated with the ordinary or wonder if anything more will ever come our way. The Lord, however, is not baffled or uncertain or overlooking us. On this side of eternity, perhaps we will never know or comprehend what the Lord is doing through our small daily Yes to His will. It is still vitally important that we continue to say that Yes.
Yes, Lord, I will wait on Your will and Your time.
Yes, Lord, I will trust that You are in control and that You have a plan for my life.
Yes, Lord, I believe that You are good and I believe You desire good things for me.
Yes, Lord, I will follow, even when I cannot see the path and wonder where it leads.
Yes, Lord, I will follow You.
Yes, Lord, begin Your work in me.