So here we are in Acts 1. Right before leaving, Jesus instructs his disciples “do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
* Historians tell us that between the time Jesus leaves Earth and the time the sending of Holy Spirit was approximately a period of ten days. The setting of Acts 1 is sometime in between those two events… we are in this dark, unknown, lonely in-between time, where the disciples may have doubted if the Spirit would come.
* The disciples also show clear signs of confusion in Acts 1, wondering what “I’m sending the Holy Spirit” actually means.
* The believers return to Jerusalem, and they all go to this upstairs room and what do they do? They pray. In the waiting and longing, they pray intentionally.
* They even do some family business by appointing a disciple to replace Judas.
If we can put ourselves in their shoes, I’m sure many of us can relate to that “is he really going to come” question… Have you ever received a promise and not seen it come to pass? I wonder – when those seasons come – what is your response?
* If we take notes from the early church, the response can be simple.
Wait (which can look like grieving, longing, wrestling with the honest questions like “will he really come”)
As long as we are on earth we will always have a sense of longing for what we don’t yet have. For the believer that is the coming of Christ and hope of spending eternity with Him. But we all long for something. We live in a culture that values certainty, and finding “truth” from just a click of a button. But uncertainty is the essential soil for for faith to grow.
Priest and author Richard Rohr: “My scientist friends have come up with things like ‘principles of uncertainty’ and dark holes. They’re willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. but many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of ‘faith’!
People of faith SHOULD long for things and feel that tension! Let it bond you to God through prayerful dependency. On that note, the 2nd response we see from disciples IS to pray.
Stay Engaged through prayer. Stay prayerful both personally to keep our union with
God strong AND corporately with other believers… community builds our faith, strengthens us (neuroplasticity), encourages us, and keeps us hopeful
Stay Faithful. Like the appointing of Matthias in the midst of uncertainty, the work doesn’t stop.
Sometimes we can fixate on what we don’t have YET, but we miss what God is doing here and now.