Waiting for Godot is a two act play that was written by Samuel Beckett in 1952. The play is about two men waiting on the roadside for a mysterious person named Godot. At the end of the first act a boy informs that two men at Godot will be delayed until the next day. At the end of the second act the same boy shows up and informs the men that Godot is not coming. The play ends without ever indentifying the mysterious Godot.
When I was in college, our drama department performed Waiting for Godot. The discussion that followed was centered on the identity of Godot. Is he intended to represent Christ? Many people today would embrace that idea. For many people the promise of Christ’s return is a hollow promise. Mankind has been waiting for so long that many have given up hope.
The Apostle Peter warned us long ago that people would abandon their vigil for Christ’s return. First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 2 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV) This is the day in which we live. Talk about the return of Christ is often treated as quaint, outdated and out of touch with reality. Few people live with a genuine awareness that Christ may return at any time.
Peter goes on to encourage those who are faithfully waiting. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)
Peter points out two important truths that we need to keep in mind as we wait for Christ’s return. First, God’s timing is not our timing. We are always in a hurry. If we cannot have something right away, we abandon it and move on to something else. We want instant gratification. God refuses to indulge us. He is not concerned with time, in the same way that we are. He is willing to allow things to develop and mature.
Second, God’s purposes are not our purposes. Many people see the return of Christ as an escape from the horrors of this present world. As our world becomes more and more unsettled, people long for Christ’s return to put an end to it all. Peter reminds us that God’s purpose is not to spare the saints from difficulty, but to open the door for sinners to repent. God is not forgetful or unconcerned. He is patient. His desire is that as many people as possible would respond to His gracious invitation of salvation.
Samuel Beckett was part of something called “the theater of the absurd.” In Waiting for Godot he seems to cast life as a journey of unfulfilled hopes and dreams; a cruel joke that fills you with promise only to snatch it away. Many people see life as absurd. We begin life with hopes and dreams and end life with disappointment. Many people are waiting for Godot, but he is not coming.
Unlike Godot, Christ is coming. We do not know the when, but we do know it will happen. One day he will break into our world and gather to himself all those who have faithfully followed him. Jesus himself guarantees it.
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:36-42 (NIV)