In November 2014, police found a 13-year-old boy who had been missing for 4 years. The heart- wrenching story grew even more shocking when police revealed that the boy’s father and stepmother had the boy all the time—hidden behind a fake wall in their house during most hours of each day. For 4 long years the boy waited to be found, waited to be reunited with his mother.

The Scriptures narrate how often God’s people have waited for God and waited to be found. Isaiah recounts how Israel called on Him in distress, crying out to their God who was not acting as they expected. He was not doing for them what He had done for their forefathers. The people pleaded in prayer for God to “burst from the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 64:1). Like God’s action at Mt. Sinai generations before, Israel longed for Him to again “come down so that the mountains would quake at [God’s] presence” (Isaiah 64:1 NRSV).

Trampled, weary, and destitute, the people needed their God to act again. “As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil,” Isaiah said, “your coming would make the nations tremble” (Isaiah 64:2). Israel was pinned under the heel of their oppressor. Their future looked bleak, without hope. They were desperate for God’s fire, for God’s action. The people recognized that their only hope was that God would save them.

This is one of the great desires in our lives as we seek to follow God. We feel the tension between what we long for God to do (to heal us and restore us and make us—and our world—whole) and the painful fact that often our full redemption hasn’t yet arrived.

But God did act. He did burst from the heavens and come down. In Jesus, help came. In Jesus, God arrived. And now we wait again, but we wait in hope.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 13:1-12