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Embracing the Wait

On one occasion, while Jesus was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5

In January, our family was given the opportunity to join my in-laws for a trip to California and a side trip to Disneyland. And what a magical experience it was……after all, Disney pretty much guarantees it………don’t they? We had a wonderful time with our children as we encountered just about everything in the Magic Kingdom. Before we left to go to Disneyland, we spent some time putting together a plan of attack in order to get the most out of our experience. Our thinking was ……..the more we get to do, the better our time will be. Efficiency over idle time was probably our motto.

If you have ever been to Disney, then you probably have utilized the proverbial “Fastpass”. The Fastpass has not been around for a long time but was created by Disney to help with the long lines for rides and attractions. By getting a Fastpass for a certain ride, you are given a ticket with a certain time window so that later in the day you can skip the regular line and immediately get on the desired attraction. As you can imagine, anything that would allow you to skip the long line on a hot day is worth its weight in gold. And we used it a lot.

I can remember the bliss of going into the Fastpass line and walking by lines and lines of people who had been waiting for hours to ride a popular attraction. At first, the feeling of passing others who were waiting a long time while you got to skip ahead was euphoric…………it felt great to rush up to the front and ride the ride of a lifetime. But the more we utilized the Fastpass, the more that feeling went away. In fact, I remember using it on a ride and passing by families who were waiting that were entrenched in deep and loving conversation with one another. They did not seem to mind waiting………instead, they seemed to embrace it.

In our Bible studies the last few weeks, we have been learning about the Holy Spirit. One of the passages we looked at recently was found in the first Chapter of Acts. In this chapter, Luke is recounting some words the resurrected Christ shared with his disciples before he ascended into heaven. At that time, the disciples had experienced a whirlwind of emotion: sadness over Jesus’ death, fear of the Jews and Romans after his passing away…….all the way to euphoric excitement and giddiness over Jesus’ multiple resurrection appearances. And after seeing the Risen Christ and being excited about what might come next, Jesus turns to his disciples and says “Wait.” In other words, don’t go out and do anything in your excitement over my resurrection………..instead wait upon the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I think these words by Jesus are very powerful. I can only imagine the excitement the disciples must have felt upon encountering the risen Christ. These interactions probably made them want to go out and do amazing things. Here the disciples know that Jesus is alive and that their hopes and dreams are no longer crushed. And in all their excitement, Jesus says to simply wait.

Waiting for something is not much fun. It can be boring, uneventful, dry, irritating, frustrating, uncomfortable, and quite often painful. And the waiting period can come in a variety of forms: 3 days, 4 months or 20 years. But waiting is a very important theme found throughout Scripture. It seems many of God’s great gifts and opportunities come after a long period of waiting. Think Abraham and Sarah’s promise, Joseph in slavery, Israel in the desert, and the disciples waiting upon the Holy Spirit just to name a few.

Much like these events in Scripture, we, too, are always waiting on something. But when you live in a Fastpass world, waiting is frowned upon, waiting is considered inefficient , waiting is highly discouraged and waiting is to be avoided. So, why wait for tomorrow what you can have now, right?

As disciples of Christ, we are called into a life of waiting. It is our method of operation. The Fastpass may be a great thing to utilize at Disney but perhaps in life, we should find ways to avoid the quick solution and spend time embracing the wait.

After all, the best God has for you is yet to come.

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