That “Not Yet” Feeling
by Jacob Hudgins
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days’”(Luke 5:34-35).
I read lots of religious and “Christian” literature. The unifying theme of most Christian books is the idea that things are not right and need to be changed. Books boast the secret of fulfillment, detail what’s wrong with the church, and promise never-before-discovered truths from the Bible. They prey on that unsettled feeling within us—that feeling that something is not quite as it should be.
I talk to lots of Christians. Most conversations have a similar tone that things are just not quite right. We may talk about how people are mistaken about the Bible, or how we make mistakes in our own lives, or what the real problems in the world are. Some, in their desperation, advocate radical changes to worship or church structure to settle themselves. Others seek more intense religious experiences to quell such emotions. But we all share this feeling that something is not quite right.
Yet this passage convinces me that such feelings are entirely appropriate. Jesus tells us that his disciples don’t fast because he is with them, but that the day will come when fasting is appropriate because “the bridegroom is taken away from them.” That’s where we live! We have a taste of the wonders of the gospel, the vibrant hope of heaven, and the peace of forgiveness—but we don’t have Jesus yet! Not like we will! That feeling of discontent might just be that “not yet” feeling!
Paul also describes this feeling, using the vivid word “groaning.” “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”(Rom 8:23). “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling”(2 Cor 5:2). We groan because our bodies are imperfect and perishing. We groan because something better is coming, but it’s not here yet. We groan because we are, in a sense, absent from the Lord (2 Cor 5:8-9). We’re going home, but we’re not there yet.
The challenge is for Christians not to seek some improper solution to the groaning of our hearts. What we need is deeper, stronger hope in the coming restoration of our souls. We need stronger anticipation and hastening of the day when the bridegroom will be with us again. That “not yet” feeling will go away—but not quite yet!