What I recently learned about waiting on God
Last night I was discussing Acts chapter one with some friends. After reading the first five lines we stopped to talk about what we found. The conversation took a lot of turns, from what Luke wrote, to what it means. Then we asked God to tell us what we need to do with this knowledge--to speak to us through the scripture and touch our hearts. When we shared, each of us felt impacted by different portions of the scripture.
The part that really got to me was in verse four:
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said “you heard from me.”
Out of all of the verses we discussed, God told me that this one was for me, at this season in life. The more I meditated on it, the more I understood why.
I’m a mover. I love getting out and being of service to others, but far too often I let my excitement and the vision God has provided to lead me without questioning if the time is right. Thinking only about what good will come, I spring to life and sprint. For a while I usually feel great. I see the effects of God’s goodness, and I feel full. But it doesn’t take long before I’m completely exhausted, running on empty. And the thing is, it’s good to help and serve others, to follow a vision when God gives it to you.
But even good things done in the wrong time and without waiting for God to fill you with the Spirit can have negative effects.
When I read Jesus’ command, I feel for the disciples. I can’t help but think that they were excited, ready to tell the whole world about what they saw. They’d just witnessed the greatest miracles in the history of man. They saw men raised from the dead and people being healed. They heard Jesus teach and felt his great love. Then they saw him crucified, buried and raised, and they knew what it meant for themselves and every person who would come to believe. They even had the instructions laid out before them on how to grow the kingdom. Yet Jesus tells them to hang tight… to stay exactly where they are...
That had to be so tough, but they did it. We read that they waited for ten days before the Spirit came to them and they were finally filled up and sent out to share the good news with others. Ten days holding on to something that you know will change lives. Ten days of prayer and hoping and searching.
In other words, the longest ten days ever.
But they were obedient, and as a Christ follower I need to follow their example. Rather than catching a vision and jumping right away, I need to ask God, "When?" When is the best time to start? I need to ask God, "Who?" Who else can help with this task so I’m not taking it on alone. And I need to ask God to be with me and sustain me both while I wait on him and throughout the process. If the disciples can do it, I can too, and so can you.
If you’re like me, I hope that these words speak to you like they did to me and you find yourself waiting on the Lord with great anticipation, not going out on your own, but trusting God’s timing.