Accept God’s Direction To Wait
By Shawn Thomas
Acts 1 tells us that just before Jesus left earth after His resurrection, He gathered His disciples together and commanded them “not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised …”.
Significantly, Jesus commanded His disciples to WAIT. Maybe they were thinking about leaving because they weren’t from there, or maybe they even wanted to go and begin the mission work Jesus told them they would be doing. But for whatever reason they were thinking about leaving, Jesus told them, don’t do it. Stay where you are. “WAIT for what the Father had promised.”
Of course, in Acts 1, Jesus wanted them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, but the Bible is full of similar commands from God for His people to wait on Him:
— Jesus told the disciples here, “WAIT for what the Father had promised.”
— Psalm 27:14 says, “WAIT for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes wait for the LORD.”
— Psalm 37 is a great Psalm of trust in the Lord; it says in:7 “Rest in the LORD and WAIT patiently for Him;”:9 says “those who WAIT for the LORD, THEY will inherit the land;”:34 says, “WAIT for the LORD and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.” Psalm 37 continually encourages us: “WAIT FOR THE LORD”!
— Psalm 130:5-6 says, “I WAIT for the LORD, my soul does WAIT … My soul WAITS for the Lord more than the watchman for the morning; indeed more than the watchman for the morning.”
— Isaiah 40:31 famously says, “They that WAIT on the LORD shall renew their strength …”
Over and over the Bible indicates there are great blessings for us when we wait for the Lord. But it can be hard to wait, can’t it? So many times we find ourselves in situations where we feel like nothing’s happening, and we’re “just tired of sitting around,” and we feel the need to get out and just “do something.” Sometimes we ourselves may feel that way — but sometimes it is other people who are pressuring us: “You need to do something!” They may or may not know what it is we should do, but they just think you should “do something”!
The problem is a lot of times when we just “do something,” that “something” we do ends up being wrong. We see an instance of that in I Samuel 13 when King Saul was at war with the Philistines. The prophet Samuel had told Saul to wait until he came and made the sacrifice for them before the battle, but Samuel was late. Verse 8 says “the people were scattering” from Saul, so:9 says that Saul, who was not a priest, went ahead and made the burnt offering himself. But “as soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold Samuel came.” Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul told him, well you hadn’t come, and I saw that the Philistines were gathering for war, and our people were scattering, “So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” Samuel told him, “You have acted foolishly.” And he told him, “Your kingdom will not endure.” The Lord seeks a man after His own heart, who will obey Him. Saul felt that pressure; everybody wanted him to “do something.” He gave in to that pressure, didn’t wait on the Lord, and it cost him the kingdom.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is just wait. On November 21, 1960, the new U.S. space program attempted to launch a Redstone rocket, but when all the smoke from the launch had cleared, the rocket was still standing there! The parachutes had deployed, and the “umbilical cord” that held the rocket had come off. Now, what were they going to do? They had a rocket they had no control over, which could be knocked over by the wind, and it would be dangerous for any technicians to approach it.
NASA flight director Chris Kraft listened intently to his crew as they desperately searched for a way out. Then one of the test conductors came up with a plan that made sense: “‘The winds are forecast to remain calm, so if we wait until tomorrow morning, the batteries will deplete, the relays and valves will go to the normally open condition. … then it will then be safe to approach the rocket.’ Kraft nodded and growled at his controllers, “That is the first rule of flight control. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.’ …. ‘Doing nothing’ worked: by early the next morning, the batteries were depleted, the system disarmed, and the pressure relieved.” (Gene Kranz, Failure Is Not An Option, pp. 31-32)
Waiting overnight solved the problem. They just needed to wait.
That’s a good lesson for many of us today too. Sometimes the best thing we can do is just wait. You don’t always just need to “just do something.” Make sure you are doing WHAT God wants you to do WHEN God wants you to do it. If you don’t, that “something” you do will end up being wrong, and it will cost you, and likely hurt others as well. So don’t “just do something.” Wait until you know what God wants you to do, and for His timing for you to do it. We need to learn that obeying God not only means GO when He calls us to go, but WAIT when He needs us to wait!
So what does that look like?
— Sometimes “waiting” on God literally means just to wait. Don’t do anything yet; don’t make any decisions now; just wait on His timing.
— But often in scripture, “waiting” on the Lord means seeking Him in prayer and His word. So don’t just “sit there and wait;” actively seek what God has to say to you in His word about your situation. Don’t “stick your finger in the Bible” looking for a miraculous word, just do your normal daily Bible reading, but watch for what God might say to you about your situation there.
— Don’t make the mistake that Saul made: don’t just decide because everybody else thinks you should. You wait and make sure that you have peace that this is what God wants you to do and that it is when He wants you to do it.
— Don’t just marry “somebody;” WAIT for the right one God has for you!
— Don’t just go to any college; go where God is really leading you.
— Don’t just take off in “some” direction; wait for God’s clear leadership first.
Make sure you are doing WHAT God wants you to do WHEN He wants you to do it.
Jesus told His disciples: don’t just head out of here and go “somewhere.” Wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. He may be saying the same thing to some of us today. Don’t just do “something.” WAIT for the Lord!
Shawn Thomas has been a Southern Baptist pastor for almost 35 years, he currently serves as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Angleton, Texas. You can read more from Pastor Thomas Here.
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