When I saw the title of the movie Waiting, I felt it was very special. “Waiting” usually refers to an appointment or a wait between people, or awaiting the arrival of something. Then, what does the “waiting” in this movie actually mean?
This movie, from different perspectives, displays the views and ways of Christians waiting for the Lord’s coming. Next let’s learn about them one by one.
Ways of Waiting
Under an old tree, Pastor Yang (Yang Shoudao), his son Yang Hou’en, and his niece Li Jiayin are having a talk. Pastor Yang believes: The signs show that the time of the Lord’s return has arrived. What they should do is watching and waiting at every moment, because the Lord will come at any time. And he is also full of expectation, hoping that he can welcome the Lord’s return before he dies. At this time, Li Jiayin raises a few questions: How should they actually wait to be in accordance with the Lord’s will? What does “watching” refer to? Yang Hou’en believes: Watching mainly refers to often praying and reading the, working hard for the Lord, and moderation in all things. And he quotes a verse to make explanations. In addition, he introduces the present practice in the church: Holding watchful sessions 24 hours a day. However, Pastor Yang thinks: Watching and waiting mainly means keeping the Lord’s name and His way, as well as guarding against all manner of heresy. If someone preaches the Lord’s coming, any of it shouldn’t be listened to or believed. But his niece Li Jiayin casts doubt on his views: As Pastor Yang says, if they never listen to or believe the news of the Lord’s return, then how can they welcome the Lord when He really comes? So her views are like this: to develop discernment, avoid being deceived by false Christs, and watchfully wait for the Lord’s return. Because the said, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). It tells that when they hear someone cries “the bridegroom comes,” that is, when someone says the Lord has arrived, they should listen out for the Lord’s voice like the wise virgins. This is truly watching and waiting. Only thus can they welcome the Lord’s return.
Here the plot gives rise to people’s thinking: How should we wait for the Lord’s coming in a right way? Pastor Yang’s views are indeed improper and seem contradictory. Just as Li Jiayin doubts, if they reject all news of the Lord’s coming, then how can they welcome the Lord? Based on this, it seems that Li Jiayin’s views are practicable.
Views About Waiting
In the church there suddenly comes the news that some people testify that the Lord has come back. As believers listen to Pastor Yang’s words “anyone who is not the Lord Jesus arriving upon a cloud is a false,” they blindly turn away the preachers. But some believers in the church think that such practice is not proper, so they start a debate on this issue. Pastor Yang approves of believers turning away the preachers. However, Li Jiayin has some different views. According to the Lord Jesus’ words “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24–25) and Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me,” she believes that the return of the Lord not only has one method of openly descending with the clouds but also has the other method of secretly coming. As her view obviously doesn’t match Pastor Yang’s view that the Lord will descend with the clouds, a heated debate immediately arises. But subsequently, the well-founded fellowship from Li Jiayin is utterly convincing and irrefutable. At the same time, the twice soliloquies in Pastor Yang’s mind call forth people’s reflection: Is it really proper to keep and define the method of the Lord’s return only based on a single verse? Can they really welcome the Lord by the practice of watching the skies? If it is so, then how can the biblical prophecies of the Lord secretly descending be fulfilled? Something is reflected in this content of the movie: In treating the Lord’s coming, one-sided acceptance will result in choosing a wrong way. And an inadvertent slip will lead to our failing to welcome the Lord by a narrow chance. This really deserves taking seriously.
Standing Still and Waiting
As the plot develops, the story is promoted to its climax. When Li Jiayin who has welcomed the Lord’s return tells this good news to believers in the church, at once there is an animated discussion among them. On this matter, Yang Shoudao gets very angry and says, “I believe that if we are faithful to the name of the Lord Jesus and the way of the Lord, do not accept the deception of false Christs and false prophets, and if we are alert as we wait, then the Lord will surely give us revelation when He comes. We don’t need to listen to the Lord’s voice to be raptured.” From this, it can be seen that Pastor Yang is still so obstinate. As Li Jiayin and her co-workers clearly fellowship the truths such as the correct way of watchfully waiting for the Lord’s coming, how to recognize the Lord’s voice, and how to discern the true Christ and false Christs, Yang Hou’en and other believers all feel excited. But Pastor Yang’s voice in his heart makes audience sigh, seemingly letting people see the reappearance of the Pharisees.
Pastor Yang says in his heart, “Almighty God’s words are indeed the truth, they really can conquer people! It looks as if, having heard more of the preaching of the, people will surely follow Almighty God. If they all accept Eastern Lightning, then the church I have spent so much effort building will become their church. And who will listen to my preaching? That’s not right, I can’t let them accept this way.” At these words, I couldn’t help but think: The Pharisees once desperately longed for the coming of Messiah. But when the Lord Jesus came to work, it didn’t fit their imaginations, so they frenziedly resisted and condemned the Lord. Finally they nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross, committing heinous crimes and suffering the righteous punishment of God. It can be seen that this historical lesson is tragic. Likewise, Pastor Yang has been yearning for the Lord’s coming for decades, but in order to protect his status and livelihood, he attempts to hinder believers from accepting the true way. These actions that follow the same pattern as the Pharisees’ are really thought-provoking: Foolishly and ignorantly clinging to one’s own conceptions means resting content with old practice, but it’s another pair of shoes to willfully resist after clearly knowing the true way. I couldn’t help thinking of what the Lord Jesus said, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26).
At last, Yang Hou’en recognizes that the word of Almighty God is precisely the voice of the Lord, so he is about to lead believers to investigate the Lord’s appearance and His work. But Yang Shoudao firmly disagrees. Yang Hou’en tries to earnestly persuade him. Unexpectedly, Yang Shoudao said in exasperation, “Even if it results in death, we will not convert to Eastern Lightning!” Hearing that, Yang Hou’en feels shocked. He never thinks his father who has eagerly longed for the Lord’s return for decades can speak out such words. As he exhorts his father worriedly, Yang Shoudao slumps into the chair and then says, “The church is mine … None of you listen to me …” Eventually, because the Lord’s coming doesn’t conform to his conceptions and also for the sake of his status, he stubbornly resists the Lord’s appearance and His work, walking on the Pharisees’ path of resistance to God. Yang Shoudao’s prayer under the old tree tells everything. In this movie, what is most pitiful is that Yang Shoudao spends his lifetime waiting for the Lord’s coming but shuts the door on the Lord when He comes, and that he does not feel a bit repentant until he takes his last breath. The tragedy of Yang Shoudao in the play is thought-provoking! And it also warns everyone who waits for the Lord’s coming: In treating the Lord’s return, should we passively wait or actively seek? And should we obstinately keep our conceptions or humbly seek? These questions really deserve our consideration.
The movie Waiting brings us a grave admonition, and also expounds how people should watch and wait to successfully welcome the Lord’s return. The Lord Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Mat 7:7). This movie is worth clicking to watch for every brother or sister who longs and waits for the appearance of the Lord.