“There is no place for faith if we expect God to fulfill immediately what he promises.”
In Acts 1:4, Jesus gave His disciples this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” Jesus was referring to the gift of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. I find it encouraging that I’m not the only one who struggles with impatience; I’m in good company with the disciples! Jesus ordered them to wait for the Father’s promise to be fulfilled.
Waiting is “to remain stationary in readiness or expectation.” Waiting consists of two parts: staying where you’re at and having expectations for something. I wait at a red light hoping it will soon turn green. I wait till Christmas morning with anticipation of the gifts I’ll unwrap. I’ve never found waiting to be easy, especially while sitting in a hospital’s waiting room as a loved one is having surgery.
Jesus must have known His disciples would get antsy and would want to leave and move on to what is next, so He commanded them to wait. He wanted them to stay right where they were, anticipating how God would fulfill His promise of baptizing them with the Holy Spirit.
Many things happen while we wait for a promise to be fulfilled. Our anticipation and looking forward to something builds. Waiting also brings things inside of us, like frustration, up to the surface. It’s difficult to wait because it feels inactive, when God is working to mature and transform us to look more like Himself. Character, like patience and strength, are built within us as we wait. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
If you struggle with impatience and waiting on God’s fulfillment of His promises, be encouraged by the following quote that G. Campbell Morgan wrote. “Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”
The disciples received what God had promised within a few days. I’m sure they were grateful they waited for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we too are thankful when God fulfills His promises after we’ve waited with expectation.
“To us, waiting is wasting. To God, waiting is working.”
What promises of God are you waiting for Him to fulfill in your life?