Waiting for the baby to come seems like it's taking forever. Even though the baby could come at any time, we're 5 weeks out from the due date. 5 weeks. 5 years.
Five weeks never seemed like so long a time.
In Galatians 1:5, Paul says that the glory is going to be to Jesus "forever and forever" (tous aionas ton aionon). There's no end in sight.
The Jesus Story contains a much longer time-horizon than we're used to. We're used to stories that go 5 weeks or 4 years or til death do us part. But stories that go on forever and forever are foreign to us, incomprehensible.
Our unfamiliarity with stories of an infinite length can lead to some confusion on our part.
Delayed gratification makes a lot more sense if the story is longer. Put in the time to get a degree and it will help your whole career. Lead a Small Group with IV and bless the church for the rest of your life. Treat her like you want to keep her around and you might just get to.
But an infinite story will look different. The plot will move much more slowly. The focus might not be just on one character, but on a whole family. The dénouement may take a long, long time.
And that's what we have. The Story stretched across the ages pulls in a small family and eventually the whole world. After the Hero's dramatic triumph over the Villain, generations pass. And the standing ovation goes on forever. And no one gets annoyed.
"Tous aionas ton aionon" is a special phrase for us. It reminds us that we're part of Jesus' Story, a story that goes on forever and forever and forever. Amen.