1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
I hate waiting. And unfortunately, it seems like lately that’s all I do. I wait to hear from churches about positions. I wait to hear from agents or publishers about the book. And the worst of it is that I have no idea if any of these groups or individuals will ever get back to me at all. So often times it feels like I am waiting for nothing, to be honest.
What am I waiting for??
In Acts 1, you can imagine that the disciples might have felt the same way. Jesus tells them, cryptically, that John the Baptist baptized with water, but that they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and that they should wait for this to take place. Now, we have some familiarity with that expression, but the disciples did not. They had no idea what baptism with the Holy Spirit meant in the least, and what ramifications it would have on their life. But despite this, they were commanded not to leave Jerusalem, and wait for a gift that they were not even sure they would recognize. You could imagine them asking themselves, “Err, exactly what are we waiting for??” It probably felt like they were waiting for nothing.
Not quite though…
It’s true that the disciples probably had no idea what was to come, but that did not mean that they waited for nothing, or with no purpose. They may have not understood exactly what Jesus was promising them, but they did know WHO was making that promise: it was Christ. The same Christ who mysteriously told them not a few months earlier that He would be captured and crucified, and then rise again on the third day, and guess what? He did just that.
So the disciples did not wait because they comprehended exactly what Jesus had planned. Instead, they waited because they understood who Jesus was – it was Jesus who had commanded them not to leave Jerusalem and wait, and they had learned through experience that no matter how crazy it seemed, Jesus would always fulfill His promises.
I frankly have no idea what I am waiting for, and this lack of clarity and aimlessness can often begin to slowly morph into despair at times. I’m sure that many of us often feel this way. But I always find it helpful not to focus on what I am waiting for, but instead, who made the promise. No, we don’t know what we are waiting for, and exactly what God has planned for our lives. Such is the nature of life! But thankfully, we do know who called us to wait, who crafted the plans, who made the promise: a faithful and wise God. And that makes all the difference.
So it’s true that much of the time I feel blindfolded as I grope my way through life. But thankfully, Someone trustworthy is leading me by the hand!