Next to waiting, it's a command that does not sit well with many believers-or human beings in general for that matter. But if we are going to learn how to contently wait for the Lord, it is necessary for us to begin with this most difficult of tasks.
The early church is not only a great model of how we should operate as the Bride of Christ, they equally demonstrate the importance of waiting obediently on that which the Lord has promised. We can glean much from their example in Luke 24 and Acts 1.
Allow me to set the scene for you, for these men and women are no different than you and I.
Jesus, their fearless leader, has just been crucified and laid to rest in a tomb. Their dreams of political and religious freedom from the Romans have been obliterated. And because they devoted their lives to following this man, they are wanted by both the Roman and Jewish officials and therefore are on the run-their lives in jeopardy of facing the same fate as their Lord. They are crowded together in a small room, behind locked doors, straining their ears to hear the slightest footsteps of the soldiers who are searching diligently for them. They are afraid. More than afraid. They are utterly terrified.
They have heard whispers. Rumors.
Could it be true? Could Jesus really be alive?
Uncertainty and doubt cloud their thoughts.
And they wait.
And suddenly, un-expectantly, He is standing there in their midst.
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." Luke 24: 45-49 [emphasis mine]
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised... Acts 1:4 [emphasis mine]
You can imagine the range of emotions that were experienced at that very moment by those huddled together in that crowded room. Fear. Shock. Awe. Excitement. Joy. Confusion. Doubt. Disbelief. And one of the first things Jesus says to them after reassuring them that it is He, Christ Jesus, the Son of God- is to stay put. He asks them to wait. Essentially, He is testing their obedience.
Out of all of the things Jesus could have spoken to them, He has asked His followers to wait on that which the Father had promised- the coming of the Holy Spirit. For God's will to be established, it was imperative that the disciples were obedient to Jesus' commands. They were to begin first in Jerusalem, and then go forth into the surrounding areas of Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). But first, they needed to wait patiently where they were so that they could be equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Could you imagine the disaster that would have taken place had the disciples disregarded Jesus' instructions and attempted to bring about God's will in their own strength? It would have been awful. And yet... that is exactly what you and I tend to do during seasons of waiting. We disregard Jesus' instructions, go rogue, and struggle to do God's will all on our own. We become Mavericks of the faith- something God never intended for us to do. If we would patiently wait on His timing, He will equip us with His Power to complete that which He has called us to.
But we have to wait. We have to remain obedient.
Were the disciples afraid, confused, full of doubt and uncertainty? Most definitely. But they were obedient.
You and I face these same challenges today as the Lord calls us to join Him where He is, but we can see from Scripture that if we remain faithful, and obediently listen to what Jesus is asking of us, that He will prepare you for what is to come.
As you go about your week, I want to ask if you will do something for me, will you sit and ponder these words spoken by Charles Stanley?
"Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we are waiting for."
Next week, we will continue to explore life in the in-between, as we look to Scripture to discover the secret to being content while we wait. Thank you for joining me on this journey, friends!