S173P11 – Opportunities taken: the work in the waiting

Acts 1:12-14

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.  When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying.  Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

The team was hoping to be selected for a greater mission.  Their work had been more than acceptable, and they had a desire to do more.  After a time of what seemed like silent hopelessness, during which they received little instruction with no indication of things to come, they got the word they were hoping for.  They would be promoted to greater work after all.  They could have simply sat on their duffs and waited for their first orders, but they took another tack instead.  Not knowing what lay ahead or when it would come, they trained and prepared.  The future was unknown, but that did not mean they should not try to get ready for it.  Time simply waiting would have been time totally wasted.

The apostles had been told to go and wait in Jerusalem for a visit from the Holy Spirit.  They were given no timeline and little instruction.  This is no different than the promptings some of us receive today, when we sense the Lord moving us in some direction but without clear detail of where we should go or what we should expect.  When things are unclear, we have two options.  We can wait on the Lord passively and direct our focus and energy elsewhere in the meantime, our we can wait in prayer and preparation.  The apostles did not simply wait but took that time to invest in prayer and grow closer to God.  They sowed spiritually into that time of waiting, and we cannot know how that influenced what came to them afterward.

Waiting on God is not the same as waiting on a bus or a train.  In the latter examples, killing time does not matter.  The bus and the train will come when they will, and we cannot speed their arrival.  In the former example, we actually have a chance to influence an outcome.  The manner in which we wait actually speaks volumes about what we desire from God or in God.  If we desire the best and most out of this spiritual relationship, we will take advantage of every moment we have to sow into it.  We will wait actively, which is waiting hopefully and faithfully.  Father, give us the desire and discipline to put the work in the waiting, knowing it honors You and produces good fruit.