In Jonathon Barnes’ excellent sermon last Sunday from Acts 1:1-11, one of his main points was that the disciples of Jesus were told by Jesus to “wait.” The exact words of Acts 1:4 are: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”
I will tell you straight up: I hate to wait. A few days ago I had to go the Primary Care Physician’s office for what I knew was going to be a painful appointment. I had another huge boil (thankfully this time not on my face) and having walked this road before, I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew that the physician was going to lance it and it was going to be painful. Upon reporting, I was assigned to the “waiting room.” You are not supposed to use your phone in the “waiting room” and I was not interested in the commercial for diabetes medicine that was looping on the TV monitor in the room, so it was a pretty agonizing wait.
Why were the disciples of Jesus told to wait? Their tendency, like ours, would probably have been to launch out on their own, shoot from the hip, and start the process of beginning the church. They needed to wait so that they would always understand that the power comes from the Lord and not from them. Verse 8 clearly communicates that the power was going to come through the Holy Spirit and the Spirit would equip them to be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Most of us are people of action, but waiting teaches us to rely on God’s wisdom and to trust in his timing. Just like we cannot expedite the rising of the Sun, some things cannot be rushed. God will always do things in the best way with perfect timing.
I have read that William Carey, the “father of modern missions,” waited seven years before gaining his first convert in India. Adoniram Judson waited the same period of time, seven years, before gaining his first convert in Burma. The day of Pentecost, and the work of these two great pioneer missionaries prove that God’s timing is well worth waiting for.
There is one more thing that the Lord does while we wait. Take a look at Isaiah 41:30, “But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” It takes major strength for the eagle to soar against invisible columns of air. God’s waiting room strengthens us for whatever tasks and battles are before us.
I have heard it said, “The person who waits on God loses no time.” Rather than resent the waiting room – let’s try to appreciate what the Lord is doing during that critically important time.