Summary: we must wait for God's plan for us
There are a lot of people who simply seem unable to live without excitement, without stimulation. Whether it comes from pleasure - or from crisis - they thrive on activity, on chaos, confusion – on dealing with problems - on adrenalin – on constant drama – in fact, we sometimes call them ‘drama queens’, regardless of gender.
The time that exists between one crisis and another, between one activity and another is regarded by them as boring, dull, . . as time that is lost, . . . time that is unimportant, . . time that doesn't count.
Even people who are not adrenalin junkies find it difficult sometimes, to face a period of time in which not too much is happening, things are relatively calm, a period of time in which they must wait for a promise to be fulfilled, . . .for an event to happen, . . .something new to begin.
Today's reading from the Book of The Acts Of the Apostles tells us how the disciples found themselves in this kind of situation - how they found themselves facing a period in which they would simply have to wait for Christ's promise to them to come true.
After the resurrection, Jesus visited with his disciples on several occasions. He taught them, He encouraged them, He commissioned them to do a job, and then - on the day of His ascension into heaven, when they were anxiously asking Him when His kingdom would be established, when the next installment of the divine plan would take place, He tells them that it is not for them to know the times or periods established by God. That they should go back to Jerusalem and wait,
• wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit
• wait for the power they would need to witness for Him there, in Judea, and all of Samaria and
ultimately in all the world.
For many, waiting is a dreadful thing, just ask any child. But it doesn't have to be like that. Living between times, living between occasions in which all of our minds and hearts and energy are absorbed in affairs of significance can, in fact, be quite wonderful.
It can be for us:
• a pause that refreshes
• a time in which we gain strength
• a time in which we quietly grow and are prepared for that which will come next.
But living in the times between, in those times
• Between one phase of our lives and the next
• between one job and another
• between the time when the first child has married and the last has yet to enter school
• between the period when we have lost one dear friend and have yet to find another
These times can be difficult for us if we do not know how to wait in the manner recommended by the words of Jesus.
So how does He advise us to spend the times between?
There are three important ways.
FIRST, we need to remember the times in between are not to be passive times but times in which we are meant to work at that which is at hand - rather than at that which is yet to come. It is a time for us to pray, to examine, to contemplate, to seek understanding. In the times between, our eyes are meant to be fixed on the present. We are called to live in the ‘now’, rather to live in the future.
SECONDLY, we are called to live as Christ has shown us to live - in obedience and in connection with Him and the Father.
When the disciples returned to Jerusalem they stayed together. They joined themselves with the rest of those who believed in Jesus, they sought to be one as Christ had prayed that they would. They stayed together and searched their hearts and minds, preparing themselves for the job Jesus gave them to do.
Our task in the times between. whether it is a time between what is obviously one work of God and another, or simply a time between one event in our daily lives and another is to make ourselves ready to be used by the Spirit; that Spirit which may come, as it does so often - sooner than we think.
AND THIRD, in the times between we need to trust and have confidence that what has been promised to us by God will come to pass. Whether that promise is a spiritual gift, a promise of comfort or of a new life or a promise to bless us and use us in some particular way his service.
In the times between, the times of waiting, we must trust in the Lord to come through, we must remember His resurrection and His ascension; we must remember what He has done for us in the past, and wait for the next act, the next promise to come true.