Waiting is a necessary, but often unwelcome part of life.
We wait in line at the grocery store. We wait for paychecks to come in the mail.
We wait to start our life work. We wait to get married. We wait to have children.
We wait for those children to have children.
We wait for God to work. We wait for God to answer our prayers.
Life is about learning how to wait well. It is during these times of waiting that the real lessons of life come and where our character is formed.
While no one really likes to wait, it is imperative that Christians not just exist during these times of waiting, but that they thrive and embrace the experience.
Tucked away at the very end of the book of Luke is a fascinating lesson about a group of people in a similar quandary.
Let me set the scene.
Jesus has risen from the dead, He has issued His Great Commission, and is now giving His followers one last charge. He wants them to impact the world, but before they spread out to the four corners of the earth, He has one final assignment for them.
Can’t you just see the look of shock on everyone’s faces. The disciples were all excited, ready to go for God.
Then Jesus halted them right in their tracks. He told them to stay put.
I can imagine what my response would have been in that situation. But, Lord, you said that we should spread the gospel to all nations?!!? Why Jerusalem? I don’t want to stay home. I want to GO and DO. Please, God, anywhere but here. I’ll even go to Africa!
Fortunately, the disciples were not like me. They heard Jesus and obeyed.
In those two little verses, we get a look at six attitudes that every Christian should have during times of waiting.
1. An Attitude of Worship
Instead of complaining, the disciples worshiped God. They recognized His sovereignty and His superior wisdom. Often while we are waiting, we are tempted to take control of the situation. An attitude of worship trusts that God is all knowing—and that He will work in His perfect timing.
2. An Attitude of Obedience
The disciples turned around and headed back to Jerusalem. Whatever plans they had of catching the next flight out of town on Roman Airlines were immediately on hiatus. This did not mean that they allowed their God-given dream to die. They kept the dream alive, but they chose to obey God and wait for His Divine assistance in completing His work.
3. An Attitude of Joy
A bunch of sourpusses did not return to Jerusalem. These men and women were rejoicing in their new and entirely unexpected assignment. When God changes your plans or puts you in a holding pattern in life, what is your immediate reaction? Do you murmur and complain? Or do you have, as Oswald Chambers said, “breathless expectation”?
“Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing…Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.” Oswald Chambers
4. An Attitude of Service
Christ’s followers were continually in the temple, which was the center of the community in Jerusalem. Are you investing in your local church during your times of waiting? Are you looking for ways to make a difference, right where God has planted you? Don’t develop a case of spiritual far-sightedness and miss the needs of those around you.
Recently, I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David. In the book, Moore reminds us that “God often uses the practical to lead to the spiritual.” Never miss out on opportunities to practically serve during your time of waiting.
5. An Attitude of Praise
What is coming off the tip of your tongue during your prayer times? Are you offering praise to God? One of the best places to start when trying to cultivate an attitude of praise is the book of Psalms. Meditate on those words and you’ll find yourself continually praising God for His countless blessings.
6. An Attitude of Blessing God
This is something we often overlook. When was the last time you thought about blessing God? The Hebrew word in this passage literally means to “speak well of” God.
What are you saying about God these days? Are your conversations filled with agony over the things He hasn’t chosen to do yet in your life? Or are you telling all those you meet about the wonderful God that you serve?
“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16
Each one of us will go through a difficult season of waiting. Most of us will experience it more than one time.
What is your Jerusalem today?
Your Jerusalem will be the training ground for your future ministry. It is your launch pad for a life of service.
The time you spend in Jerusalem will shape the course of your ministry and your life.
Don’t miss out on the lessons God has for you in this life-changing city.
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