By Russ Ramsey
Waiting is hard. And it can seem pointless. But the opening chapter of Acts shows us it is not.
A number of years ago, I went to my brother’s deployment ceremony for the Army. He was leaving his wife and daughter behind in the great state of Texas to spend a year in the Middle East as a soldier. The send-off was a sober event that involved many lengthy farewells.
But as the troops left the stadium, they didn’t immediately board a plane for Kuwait. Instead, they went to a military base seven miles away from my brother’s house, where they spent the next two weeks preparing to leave. So my brother was only a few miles away from his family, but might as well have been on the other side of the world. He said that was the hardest week of the year because he was stuck waiting so close to home.
In the first chapter of Acts, we find Jesus’ disciples waiting close to home. That must have been a difficult stretch. Jesus had risen from the grave and walked among His disciples for forty days, teaching them that the Holy Spirit would indwell the people of God and empower them for the work of building the Church around the world. And right before He ascended into heaven, He told His disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. They waited there for 10 days.
What are you waiting on now? Or better, how are you waiting? It’s hard to wait because waiting can feel wasteful, which also feels “unspiritual.”
The reality is that sometimes God calls us to wait on Him, and rather than the waiting being a time of inactivity, God uses these periods as times of preparation. What kind of preparation? For the disciples in Acts 1, it was preparation to be His witnesses. They spent their time in fellowship with one another (1:13-14), in devotion to the Lord (1:14), and in anticipation for how He would work through them when the time came—evidenced in their determination to shore up their group by replacing Judas (1:21-26).
If we believe that God is pleased to use our lives for His glory as His witnesses throughout the world, then even our seasons of building, establishment, and waiting are filled with significance.
So how do we wait well? We spend our time seeking the face of God, studying and obeying His Word. We spend time in fellowship together. We regard every day as a precious gift of time to spend in preparation for what He will do through us.
As we bear witness to Him, let us spend our time waiting for His return; for although He does not need to use us as His witnesses, He is pleased to use us as His witnesses by His grace and for His glory.
May we spend our lives in response to that grace.
Written By Russ Ramsey