Are You STILL Waiting?

10:05 AMHeather

Don't you hate it when you go to Target and there are about 40 check out lines...with only 4 open?  Thus causing long, long lines to form.  Annoyed people sighing and shifting on their feet and become more agitated by the minute.  If you are like me, waiting like that feels annoying.  I watch every red shirted employee who seems to be doing nothing of significance and wonder.  WHY aren't they manning a check out line?

Waiting.  As a culture, we are really bad at waiting.  We have become so conditioned for instant gratification and short cuts that waiting is just not acceptable.  Now, I'd wonder about anyone who enjoyed waiting...but I think we can all stand to learn how to tolerate it better.  Myself, of course, included.

Waiting.  It has become something I think of often.  As there continues to be a very significant aspect of my life that has been shuffled to the waiting room.  For nearly two years now.  It is a matter that I believed would be resolved quickly.  I certainly didn't expect to linger in this no man's land for THIS long.  

Considering the number of times that I have wrestled this waiting thing out with God, my mind was BLOWN when I studied Acts 1:4-8 last week.  I saw a concept there that reframed the call to wait in a way that I had never pondered.  

Waiting feels so terrible to us, I believe, because we feel powerless.  We feel out of control.  There's a sense that we are at the mercy of circumstance or decision makers. I know this is the case for friends and family of mine who are waiting for an adoption that is stalled by governmental rules, for soldiers serving in harm's way, for health to be restored, for relationships to be mended, for financial provision that feels out of reach. 

For every one who is in some season of waiting, I pray you will be encouraged by these insights today.

On one occasion, while he [Jesus] was eating with them, he game them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father has promised, which you have heard me speak about...He said to them, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive the power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  
Acts 1:4, 7-8

Jesus told his disciples to wait.  To wait for the Father's timing.  To wait for a gift.  To wait for God's provision of all we need and more.  Rather than running away, God says to dwell in the in-between, waiting for the fulfillment of His promises. In order that we can move forward to be witnesses of His faithfulness--having been equipped through the discipline of waiting.

God is in the business of making all things new.  He is all about turning the ugly (in this passage, Jesus' death) or the hard (Jesus' ascension into heaven) into something beautiful.  But these changes take time.  The disciples waited three days after Jesus' death before He was resurrected.  Here, as Jesus is about to ascend, they will wait seven weeks for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is where waiting comes in--not running or worrying.  But waiting.  Here is the mind blowing TRUTH I see in this passage.

There is power in the waiting.  When we are called to wait, it's because He is at work.  He is in the process of equipping us.  With His power, as we wait.  

His power, His new work, His redemption of pain and suffering and the agony of waiting--it is all unleashed through the seasons of waiting. 

As the disciples waited those seven weeks for this new thing, it ushered in a new power--the resurrection power--that would be given within each of them.  And us.

Waiting feels as though nothing is being accomplished.  But our Father is telling us that seasons of waiting actually usher in seasons of fresh power, new gifts, and God appointed new works.  From our seats in the waiting room, we see nothing happening.  Behind the closed doors around us, God is moving and acting for our benefit to bring about the new.  To unleash the power of the next thing. 

Jesus said to wait.  And then, he was gone.  He must have felt so far away to the disciples.  They must have felt confused and lonely and abandoned.  The angst of waiting when nothing seemed to be happening, no progress made.

Can you relate?

Yet, they obeyed the command to wait.  

And the Holy Spirit came.  Within each of them was placed the power of God.  The Comforter.  The Counselor.  The One who intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  The deposit of the Trinity within each of us.

Indeed, the seasons when God asks us to wait will lead to His great power and new works being unleashed.  As never before.  In new movements of God and fresh revelations of His sufficiency and sovereignty.  

I have pondered this and mulled it over and asked myself if I really do believe everything I just wrote to be true?  Because what if?  WHAT IF the unthinkable comes at the end of waiting and circumstances take a turn for what seems like the worst?

This is what I threw back in prayer.  Sorta throwing down the gauntlet.  "Oh really, God?  What about those 18 months we waited for my dad to be healed from cancer?  And he died anyway?"

The gentle whisper to my soul:

"Yes. But your dad was healed eternally.  He came home.  His suffering ended.  He was made complete and whole and his earthly purposes were accomplished.  And I have been redeeming this loss through your life ever since.  Giving you a compassion for the grieving.  Showing myself to be enough.  Building and weaving within you a greater faith, an ability to be used through your brokenness.  EVEN THAT ushered in new seasons of power."

Even that. I cannot deny that even that has shaped and molded me in ways I would not change.

Even whatever that may be--the worse fear you have about the result of your waiting.  God's power is still unleashed--even there.

That we might take these truths and weave them around our minds and our hearts and tie up our anxiety with the bow of these promises.  And wait with expectation.  For the new movements of God that are being unleashed through our waiting.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on 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 faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31    

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