It’s safe to say that waiting is not a favorite pastime for most people. It can be frustrating and seem like a waste of time, but the reality is that we spend a significant portion of our lives waiting. We wait in traffic, in carpool lines, in grocery stores, and in countless other situations. Waiting can be incredibly difficult, but waiting on the Lord is different. While still difficult, it is a process of becoming what God wants us to be. So, what can we do while we wait?
Waiting on the Lord is not a passive activity. It’s not about sitting around, twiddling our thumbs, or doing nothing. Instead, biblical waiting is an active process that involves seeking God’s will and direction. It’s not about escaping our troubles or evading unpleasant realities, but about trusting in God’s plan and purpose for our lives. During the waiting period, we can take comfort in the fact that what God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for. In other words, the waiting period is a time of growth and transformation, as God works in our hearts and minds to prepare us for the next step in our journey.
Acts 1:12-26 is a passage that is intended to instruct and equip us in our Christian walk. It’s a passage about waiting on God, which is a natural rhythm of the Christian life. In this passage, we see the disciples waiting for the promised Holy Spirit to come upon them, and we see them praying and seeking God’s will and direction. We can all relate to waiting on God, whether we’re waiting for an answer to prayer, waiting for His direction, or waiting to make a major decision and wanting to know His will.
One of the most practical aspects of this passage is that it shows us how to wait on God. We may not be good at waiting, but we need to learn how to do it. Waiting on God requires us to trust Him and to seek His will above our own. It requires us to surrender our desires and plans to Him and to be patient as we wait for His timing.
So, what do we do when we’re waiting on the Lord? Based on this passage, there are several things we can do while we wait on God.
Obey What You Know
The disciples were told to go to Jerusalem, and that is exactly what they did. While they were waiting, they simply did what they knew to obey. This is significant because Jesus told them to wait and not leave, and their obedience to this command was crucial for the global witness to begin there and ultimately fulfill His plan. When we don’t know what to do, we should do what we know to do. The disciples did not have all the answers, but they obeyed what they did know, and this obedience set the stage for the Holy Spirit to move in a powerful way. We can learn from their example and trust that when we follow God’s commands, even if we don’t fully understand them, He will work out His plan in our lives and use us to accomplish His purposes.
As believers, we should never wonder whether we should make disciples, pray, live holy lives, bear fruit, love our neighbor, be faithful in marriage, or any other aspect of our faith. The Bible is clear on God’s revealed will for all of us, and it is up to us to obey and follow His commands. Unfortunately, far too many Christians spend their time and energy trying to find God’s concealed will while ignoring His revealed will. Instead of seeking to follow the basics of the faith, they look for some hidden or mystical plan that they believe God has for their lives. While it is important to seek God’s direction in our lives, we should never forget the clear commands that He has given us in His Word. Let us strive to obey His revealed will and trust that He will guide us in His perfect plan for our lives.
It is important to recognize that God’s personal will for our lives will never contradict His universal will as revealed in the Bible. Therefore, it is crucial that we start by obeying God’s clear instructions in the Bible before seeking His personal will for our lives. After all, why would God reveal His personal will if we are not willing to obey His universal will? In times of waiting, it can be tempting to become fixated on discovering God’s specific plan for our lives, but we must remember that our primary focus should be on obedience to His revealed will. As we follow His commands and seek His guidance, we can trust that He will reveal His personal will for our lives in due time.
Gather With Like-Minded Believers
Acts 1:13-14 describes the gathering of the disciples, including Mary and Jesus’ brothers, in an upper room in Jerusalem. They were waiting and praying together in obedience to Jesus’ command to stay in the city until they received the promised Holy Spirit. The passage emphasizes their unity and devotion as they waited for the fulfillment of God’s plan.
The importance of unity in the Body of Christ cannot be overstated. Acts 1:14 tells us that the disciples were of “one accord,” which means that they were in relational harmony with one another and had a common focus. This common focus was their belief in the resurrection of Jesus and their willingness to wait on His promise to come true. They were all committed to being His witnesses. This unity was critical to the success of their mission. As Christians today, we must also strive for unity in our relationships, focus, obedience, and mission.
The importance of togetherness in the Body of Christ cannot be overstated. It is not enough to be united in mind and spirit, but we must also come together physically as a church. The Christian life is meant to be lived in community, and we were never meant to live it alone. Being part of a community provides us with wisdom and accountability, allowing us to grow in our faith and support one another through life’s challenges. In a world where individualism is prized, it is more important than ever to remember that we were created for community, and it is through this community that we can reach out and impact our world for Christ.
Devote Yourself To Prayer
The disciples’ devotion to prayer in the upper room was a repeated practice and continual habit. They gathered in the upper room and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come, as Jesus had promised. However, they did not know the details of when or how it would happen. They only knew that it would be in a few days and that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. They kept praying and trusting God for the details, showing their faith and dependence on Him. Their dedication to prayer and trust in God’s plan is a model for believers today, to continually seek Him and trust Him for the details in our lives.
This may sound like the obvious thing to do when we are waiting on the Lord. But can be difficult, especially when we feel like we are in a season of waiting, but we must remember that God is faithful, and He will come through for us in His perfect timing. Just like the early disciples in the upper room, we must trust God for the details and keep praying for His guidance and direction. We must trust that He knows what is best for us and that His plan for our lives is perfect. So let us continue to devote ourselves to prayer, trusting in God’s plan and timing for our lives.
As the disciples waited on the promised Holy Spirit, we see three things about their prayer. First, their prayer was persistent. They all joined together constantly in prayer, showing their commitment to seeking God’s will. In Luke 11:13, Jesus teaches that persistence in prayer is the key to receiving from God. Second, their prayer was unified. They prayed with one accord, one heart, and one mind, all looking up to Christ at the same time for the same thing. This demonstrates their unity in purpose and dependence on each other. Finally, their prayer was dependent, as they recognized their need for God and His power. They knew that they could do nothing by themselves and sought God’s guidance and help in all things.
Study God’s Word
Seeking God’s will and praying about it is an essential aspect of the Christian life. However, after praying and seeking God’s will, it’s crucial to remember that much of God’s will is written in black-and-white on the pages of Scripture. The Bible is the primary place where we can find God’s will, and we must go to Scripture first when seeking God’s will. The Bible provides us with the framework for our faith and tells us how to live a life that is pleasing to God. Therefore, it’s essential to spend time reading and studying the Bible to understand God’s will for our lives. By doing so, we will gain wisdom and insight to make decisions that are aligned with God’s will.
Peter takes the lead and starts quoting Scripture, connecting what happened with Jesus’ betrayal by Judas to what is about to happen with the coming of the Holy Spirit. He points to the Word of God, showing that the Scripture had to be fulfilled. Peter apparently remembers the things Jesus taught them during the 40 days he spent with them after his resurrection. Jesus taught them about the Kingdom of God and how to understand the Scriptures, which all point to him. Peter interprets Judas’s actions as the fulfillment of Scripture, combining Psalm 69 and Psalm 109 to determine that Judas’s betrayal was prophesied and that he must be replaced.
God’s Word provides guidance, direction, and comfort in times of waiting. It reminds us of God’s promises and faithfulness, and it helps us to discern the next steps we should take. The Bible is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), providing clarity and understanding even when our circumstances are unclear. When we feel overwhelmed, uncertain, or tempted to compromise, we can turn to God’s Word for wisdom and strength. As we wait on God, let us be intentional about seeking His guidance and direction through His Word.
Trust God’s Sovereignty
The apostles understood that they could not rely on their own understanding or human reasoning to choose the next apostle. Instead, they trusted in God’s sovereignty and wisdom to reveal His choice. This is a valuable lesson for us today. When we are faced with important decisions, we must seek God’s guidance and trust in His perfect timing and plan. We must also trust that He has already made His choice and is only waiting for the right time to reveal it to us. As we seek God’s will and wait for His guidance, we can have confidence that He will guide us in the right direction and provide the wisdom and discernment we need to make the right choices.
Casting lots may seem odd to us today, but it was a common way to determine God’s will in biblical times. The Israelites were instructed to divide the land by casting lots, and Proverbs states that “the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” While casting lots is not how we make decisions today, it was a way for the apostles to seek God’s guidance in selecting Matthias as the replacement for Judas. However, it is important to note that this is the last recorded instance of casting lots in the Bible. Shortly after Matthias was appointed, the Holy Spirit came to indwell God’s people.
The Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised to send after His ascension, guides us into all truth and helps us discern God’s will for our lives. Therefore, while casting lots may have been a way to determine God’s will in the past, we now have the Holy Spirit as our Counselor, who leads and guides us and helps us make wise decisions.
When we have a grasp on God’s revealed will through His Word and have gathered necessary information to narrow our options, we should make a decision and go with it. Trusting God is key to overcome perfectionism and anxiety in decision-making. We should learn to trust in the Father’s love and sovereignty. We can do our homework, pray, seek guidance from the Christian community, and let the mission of God guide our decisions. We should act in a way that brings glory to God, through Jesus Christ and with the power of the Holy Spirit. God is in control, and our decisions should reflect our trust in His guidance and love.
Don’t Run Ahead of God in Your Own Power
In our fast-paced world, waiting can feel like a burden. We want answers, direction, and resolution as quickly as possible. However, sometimes God has to force us to wait on Him so that we can renew our strength and be ready to receive what He has for us. While waiting for God’s direction or answer to prayer, it is important to keep talking to Him in prayer and reading His Word. We can also seek guidance and wisdom from other believers. We should do what we can and be ready for when God is going to direct us. However, it is crucial to remember not to run ahead of God. We must trust in His timing and remember the words of Isaiah 40:28-31, which reminds us that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength and soar on wings like eagles.