While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me;
Jesus has just come back from the dead and “presented Himself alive to them [the disciples] by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days” (Acts 1:3). Now Jesus tells them to wait in Jerusalem to “be baptised with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5) and that they “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you” (Acts 1:8). Then Jesus disappears.
What were the disciples to think? They had already waited from Friday to Sunday, waiting for Jesus to come back from the dead, perhaps worrying that they would never see Him again. That wait had been worthwhile. Now they were being asked to trust and wait again.
God often asks us to wait. Sometimes we have to wait for an answer to prayer, for healing to come, for a situation to be resolved, or for understanding about what God is up to. The need to wait on God can be seen all through the Bible. What can we learn from Acts 1 about how we should wait and how we can wait well?
We need to trust Jesus while we wait.
The disciples waited because Jesus had told them to. They trusted Jesus’ words when he promised the Holy Spirit would come: “This...is what you heard from me”.
What has Jesus asked you to wait for? What has Jesus told you about it? What has Jesus promised you about it? Maybe He has spoken to you directly about it, or maybe the Bible makes a promise about your situation.
While we wait, we need to cling to Jesus words: “This...is what you heard from me”. If God has promised you something, you can depend on it. Keep waiting and trust that Jesus knows what he’s doing.
What should we do while we wait?
As we read the rest of Acts 1, we see that the disciples “were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers” (Acts 1:14). They also got on with the work of the church, sorting out who would replace Judas in the group of 12 disciples (Acts 1:26).
While we wait on God, we need to continue in prayer. We need to keep praying into the situations we are waiting for. We need to remain close with God in prayer, and remain united by praying with friends and family. Waiting with the support of other Christian brothers and sisters is much easier than waiting alone.
We also should not let our waiting be an excuse for inaction. We should not just sit and do nothing while we wait for answers. The disciples were waiting too, but they also got on with serving God and advancing his kingdom. We can do the same.
How can we wait well?
1. Remember that God can be trusted to deliver on all the promises He has made to you.
2. Draw close to God in prayer, and to his church.
3. Keep pressing on, loving God and loving people.