At some point or another, we will all experience a season of waiting. Some waiting seasons go by faster than others. Sometimes, we find ourselves waiting on multiple things at once. Maybe you are waiting for marriage, for a new car, for a call back from the doctor, for that debt to be paid off, that job position to open, that diploma, that person to apologize, that baby to be born, and the list could go on. Waiting is a part of life. It is so much a part of life that we have whole rooms dedicated to waiting.
In the last chapter of the book of Luke, we find a group of people who are told to wait. Jesus had recently risen from the dead and had revealed Himself to His disciples. It was now time for Him to ascend back into Heaven. Here are the words He spoke:
"Then He said to them, 'Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49
He gave them something to look forward to, but He told them to wait. They had just witnessed Jesus be brutally killed and buried, and now He stands before them, alive and well. Imagine the emotions they felt. Jesus tells them to preach the gospel to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. This was their purpose, but before they could begin spreading the Gospel, He tells them to tarry in Jerusalem until they are endued with power from on high. He tells them their purpose, and He promises to equip them to fulfill that purpose, but then He tells them to wait.
He is God and He could have given them His spirit right then and there, but He didn't. He told them to wait. I believe He did this because there is purpose in waiting.
What then, is the purpose of waiting? The next few verses reveal it to us:
"And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen." Luke 24:46-53
He led them out to Bethany, and there He began to bless them. While He is blessing them, He parts from them and begins to ascend towards Heaven. I want you to get this picture in your mind. Put yourself in the disciples place. You watched this man who had been your teacher for the past three years, be brutally beaten and buried. Three days later He is alive and well. He tells you that you are going to preach the gospel to all people, beginning in Jerusalem, but first He tells you to wait for a power from on High. Then, He leads you out to a hillside, and begins to bless you. Next thing you know, He is lifted up into Heaven and gone from sight. You are left with the other disciples standing on this hillside in Bethany.
What do you do now? Your entire life has been radically changed, and you now have to wait. The disciples could have gone back to their earlier lives before Jesus. They could have sat around and wondered what this "power from on High" would be. They could have created committees and planned a budget for the "going unto all nations" thing Jesus told them about. They could have twiddled their thumbs and dreamed about their life in 5 years.
They very well may have done a few of these things, but what does the Bible specifically say they did?
"And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen." Luke 24:52-53
They didn't go back to Jerusalem with great anxiety about the future. They went back with great joy, and they continually spent time with God, worshipping Him.
This, my friend, is what waiting is all about. When you are in that season of waiting, what do you do?
While you are waiting for marriage, what are you doing? Are you desperately chasing the approval of a guy, or are you worshipping and spending time doing the things of God?
While you wait for that call back from the doctor, what are you doing? Are you living in anxiety and allowing it to shape your decisions, or are you worshipping and coming to peace with whatever that call may involve?
While you go to college and spend countless hours preparing for the future, what are you really doing? Are you just pushing through with your head held down, trying to get it over with, or are you worshipping and living on mission every time you walk onto that campus?
Waiting is an opportunity to joyfully worship. The word "wait" in the Bible actually means, "To be expectant". I like to imagine a mother who is expecting a child. While she waits for that baby to be born, she joyfully prepares for that child's future.
Waiting is an opportunity to joyfully worship, and worship is a way of preparing your heart for all that God has in store.
In Acts chapter one the story of Jesus' command to wait and His ascension into Heaven is recounted. Specifically, we learn of a waiting room of sorts for the disciples. This room is known as "The Upper Room". In Acts chapter two we read that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. I highly recommend you to read the last chapter of Luke and first two chapters of Acts.
Waiting is a part of life. We will all have seasons that we are forced to wait. I encourage you to take that time of waiting as an opportunity to joyfully worship. As you worship, you will also be preparing for whatever it is you are waiting on.