“On one occasion, while he 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 (NIV)
With every step, piercing pain shot from my heel to the base of my neck. For almost five years, nerve pain had been an unwelcome menace, intruding at the most inconvenient of times.
We were running late for a play, and I still needed to grab the camera, pack the diaper bag and fasten the shoes. I was determined to arrive on time, walking into the auditorium as a “picture-perfect family” held together by supermom glue.
In bed that night, with the aid of my two best friends — the heating pad and muscle cream — my husband inquired, “What happened tonight?”
Avoiding his gaze, I remained silent, although I knew exactly what had happened. I had ignored my doctor’s instructions to rest and wait a few weeks longer before engaging in physical activity. But I told myself, You don’t need more downtime; you’re ready and able to get back into full swing now.
Enduring physical and spiritual pain, I wrestled with God.
Why haven’t You healed me? Why are You letting my girls see such a weak momma? They need me to be strong! I’m not asking to run a marathon; I just want to be able to move throughout the day!
Angry the Lord was “holding me back,” I switched off the light, pulled the sheets over my head and tried to sleep.
Unable to fall asleep, I got up and shuffled into the living room. My mind wandered to a passage I’d read earlier that day:“On one occasion, while he 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).
Jesus spent 40 days after His resurrection preparing His disciples to spread the Good News. I pictured them eager and excited to begin their mission, yet Jesus told them to wait. They were not to go anywhere until they received the Holy Spirit to go with them.
But the next verse reveals their focus was elsewhere; they wanted to know when Jesus would return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus told them they shouldn’t worry about that time, but rather, wait for the Holy Spirit, whom they would need as they went forth as witnesses of all they had seen and heard. (Acts 1:7-8)
I’m quick to judge the disciples’ response to Jesus’ commands, yet I am equally guilty of ignoring God’s instructions for today, preferring to focus on my plans for tomorrow.
Jesus knew the disciples would fail in their own strength, and the same holds true for us. God wants us to trust Him and attend to His timing even when we think we’re ready for action.
The tendency to thwart God’s timing when life feels like it’s moving just a little too slowly was not unique to my situation. Like a queen bee, I often buzz around at my own pace, only to suffer both physical and spiritual consequences. Then, nothing dulls the ache in my sin-stung heart besides confessing my rebellion and surrendering to the Lord’s will instead of my own.
Today, God gives His children the same Holy Spirit for guidance, comfort and strength that He gave the disciples over 2,000 years ago.
When we believe our ways and timing are better than God’s, we miss out on the precious gift of full and abundant life lived through the power of the Holy Spirit. Embrace patience and wait on the Lord until He is ready to use you and send you forth.
Heavenly Father, thank You for being our strength when we are weak. Please help us to wait on Your perfectly timed plans, fully surrendering our lives to Your leading. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.