Monday, May 15, 2017

The Wait Is (Almost) Over

It must have been nice to be in the "November Nine" - but also a little thought-provoking as well.

For ten years, the World Series of Poker's Main Event stopped when the final table of nine players was reached. After weeks of play in July, the top contestants had to wait until late October or early November to play the dramatic final hands on ESPN.

But not this year. There's word from Las Vegas today that the final table will be played in mid-July, with only a two-day break. ESPN will be "almost-live" for 40 hours during the Main Event (casino rules require a 30-minute delay, to guard against cheating).

On the one hand, more "live" coverage could be good for poker. On the other hand, the storytelling format of weekly ESPN hours will be missed - not to mention the extra time Norman Chad has to work on his jokes.

But put yourself in a Niner's chair. Would you want to wait four months to claim your million-dollar-plus payoff? Could you be that patient?

We actually know some people who have been waiting even longer for a "payday." They're described in the last book of the Bible:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who have been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge their blood?" - Revelation 6:9-10

This view is "almost-live" as well. The apostle John saw this amazing sight in a vision (Revelation 9:17) - but people have been "slain because of the word of God" for thousands of years. Jesus even took it back to the dawn of recorded time....

Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah.... - Luke 11:50-51

Jesus even considered the son of Adam a prophet! We'll let you think about that one - but more to our point, Abel and all succeeding him have been waiting a long time for God's judgment and vengeance. What was the Lord's response to their plea?

Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as hey had been was completed. - Revelation 6:11

Those martyrs of the faith must "wait a little longer." How much longer? We don't know. And since they're waiting in the grave, they're not counting the days anyway (Ecclesiastes 9:5). But their hope was, and ours is, in a resurrection....

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. - I Corinthians 15:51-52

The believer has faith that the wait will be worth it - with a change to a new immortal body when Jesus Christ returns. It makes two days in Las Vegas (or even four months in your hometown) seem short by comparison. But the payoff in eternal life will be far superior.

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