What You Can Do While Waiting On God?

What You Can Do While Waiting On God?

By Henry Nelson

 

 

 

1”In my former book, Theophilus,, I wrote about all that Jesusbegan to do and to teach2until the day he wastaken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to theapostles he had chosen.3After his suffering, heshowed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom ofGod.4On one occasion, while hewas eating with them, he gave them this command: “o not leaveJerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard mespeak about.”A group of travelers were being made to wait ontheir airplane, which was late due to another flight being canceled. The crowdlooked horrible and impatient as the time went on and on. Finally an angrypassenger pushed his way to the front of the line, slammed his ticket down andsaid, “I must be on this flight now and I must be in first class”. The flightattendant, trying to be nice said, “Sir, we will get to you as soon aspossible, but you must wait in line like everyone else”. He quickly said,“Ma’am, do you have any idea who I am?”{{more}} Without hesitation, she smiled, pickedup her intercom microphone and said, “We have a passenger here at the gate, whodoes not know who he is. If anyone can help him find his identity, please cometo gate. 17Have you ever been forced to sit and wait onsomething? Did you know that if you lived on St. Paul Island in Alaska and gotthe urge for pizza it would take three days for the pizza to arrive?Personally I can hardly stand waiting. I would drive clear across town andprobably pay twice as much to be able to get something today rather than orderit and have to wait six weeksI do not like Post offices, Banks and, of course Hospital Emergency Room, but,you know, sometimes God makes us wait. God does not always answer your prayerswith a resounding ‘yes sir! Right away sir!”Sometimes He answers with an immediate ‘yes’, or an immediate ‘no’ based on Hissovereign knowledge of what is best for us, but I find that more often Heanswers with His third response: ‘wait’ and while we do not want to run outahead of God, we also do not want to remain idle and grow stagnant either.This week topic is ‘what we can do while we are waiting on God.” We begin withthe story of the Apostles having just seen Jesus for the final time before Heascended into the clouds. He commanded them to go into Jerusalem and wait forthe baptism of the Holy Spirit.Acts 1:5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized withthe Holy Spirit not many days from now.” They walked all day from the Mount ofOlives where Jesus ascended back to Jerusalem and held up in an upper room towait for the promise of God that Jesus had given them.Scripture says that all eleven remaining Apostleswere there along with Jesus’ mother, His brothers and some others. The totalnumber of people waiting in the upper room was about 120 according to verse 15.All of them waiting on the promise of the filling of the Holy Spirit. The important thing to note in thisstory is that they did not just wait idly on the coming of the Spirit, butwhile they waited they did what they could do. Amen!Notice the three things that they did while waiting on God…I. They PrayedActs 1:14 “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…”a. It would have been easy for one of them to say, “what need do I have ofprayer, Jesus has already promised the Spirit” Or “I don’t need to pray, Godalready knows my needs, and He is sending me the Spirit” But they did not dothat, they prayed as fervently as ever. The word ‘supplication’ comes from theGreek word “Deesis ”It means a seeking, asking, or an entreating to God.They already knew the Promise was coming, yet theystill stayed fervent in their petition to God.We often forget the importance of prayerin our times of waiting on God.We will often pray about a subject once and then neverbring it before God again. The Scripture promises that God honors ourpersistent prayer. “The parable of the widow and the unjust judge.” This story should be an encouragement to all of us who are waiting. Some are waiting for a loved one to come to Jesus, keep praying. Some are sufferingfrom an illness in which there seems no reprieve; keep praying. Some have lostdirection in their life and they seem to face many more questions than answerskeep praying. When we pray while waiting we are showing God that we have placedthe matter in His hands. Not that we expect Him to fulfill our every wish. Godis not a genie in a magic lamp. Our prayers show we trust that in God’s lovinghands “all things will work together for our good” Billy Graham said, “Heaven is full of answers no one ever bothered to ask. God’sanswer is ready; it is just waiting for our personal and persistent prayer.”  Amen!II. They StudiedRead: Acts 1:16-20. Imagine what all of the Apostles must have felt towardJudas Iscariot. I am sure they didn’t understand why this man had done what Hehad done. That is a question that many still ask today. But Peter beganexpounding the Old Testament Scriptures which foretold about the betrayal ofJudas. Their time of study allowed them to better understand that, while Goddid not cause Judas to sin, He foresaw its place in His plan of redemption.Peter used the most compelling proof, Scripture, to reassure the believers thatJudas’ defection and the choice of his replacement were both in God’s purpose.Sometimes we seem to have many more questions than answers in life.We pray and pray for an answer and seem to neverfind it. Many times the answers to our questions are obviously held within thescriptures. We do not find the answers because we do not look at the instructions.“Putting together a bicycle” When my brother was three he got his first bicyclefor Christmas. Being much older I stayed awake with our father to put ittogether on Christmas Eve. My mother held the instructions. He and I beganputting together pieces that seemed to fit and after about an hour we realizedwe were not doing it right. Mom, who had the instructions, kept trying to tellus what we were doing wrong, but we did not listen and it caused us to be upeven longer, now having to disassemble the bike and then put it back togetherproperlyLife is like that many times. We bypass reading the instructions of God’s Wordand then wonder why we get ourselves into situations that require us to “backup and try again.” If you are waiting on God for an answer, the very bestadvice I can give you is to consult His instructions.By not doing so many Christians, churches and even whole denominations havegotten themselves so tied up in error that it would take almost a miracle toget things right again. We have the responsibility to study God’s Word. Timothy2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed notto be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The study of God’s Wordhelps us to more fully understand His character and when we do we will betterunderstand why He does what He does the way He does and may even help usrealize why we are being made to ‘wait’ if indeed we are. Here is a quote fromJohn Wycliffe “To be ignorant of the Scriptures is to be ignorant of God.” III. They WorkedActs 1:21-26 The Apostles were one man short because of Judas’ betrayal and suicide. TheScriptures in Psalms had called them to choose a successor. They had the firstChurch business meeting.There were two requirements for the successor. He had to have had a part inJesus’ early ministryHe had to have been a witness to the ascension. The apostles used the method ofcasting lots, a common Old Testament practice, to determine which of the twomen who were nominated would be chosen. Matthias became the one who would takethe place of Judas. Take notice here: Not only did the Apostles pray and studyduring their time of wait, but they also took care of the business that neededto be done.If we have called on God for something, and He iscausing us to wait, that does not take away our responsibility of doing whatneeds to be done now. “Building Project” If we are going to build a building,we begin with prayer and supplication and then get to work. Some people say,“Well we will just pray and leave everything up to God.” And never make anyplans to raise money or hire a builder. Well that is wonderful, but it is notscriptural. Jesus always allowed those with Him to do what they could before Heintervened. Amen!Some great examples of this are: He told the men tofill the water pots at Cana then He did what only He could do. He told theApostles to put the nets down in the water – then He did what only He could do.He told the people to remove the rock in front of Lazarus’ tomb – then He didwhat only He could do. God always expects us to do our best and then He will dothe restAn illustration of this is “David and Solomon” David wanted desperately tobuild a temple for the Lord, yet God told him that it would not be him, but hisson Solomon who would build it. David could have sat and did nothing, butinstead he began gathering all of the materials his son would need to buildGod’s temple. Waiting on God’s futureblessings does not give us a license for complacency to not do the work. He hascalled us to in the present.Sometimes God, as a loving Father, makes us wait onHim. A good parent often makes his child wait for things because the parentknows that this will help to teach the child patience. Some might say, “Well, Ihave made no recent petition to God, I am not waiting on Him, so how does thisapply to me?” The greatest thing all born again believers are waiting on isJesus’ returnand it has been this way since Jesus ascendedActs 1:11-12 says, “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He wentup, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men ofGalilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was takenup from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go intoheaven.” And while we all wait for this most glorious hope, we should take alesson from the Apostles.We need to spend time with God in prayer and supplication. We need to study HisWord, our life’s manual. And we need to continue in the work that He has calledus to do now, in the present.Waiting for God does not mean sitting around doingnothing. It means doing what you can, while you can, as best you can whilealways being careful to not run ahead of God. Now you know what you can do whilewaiting for God! Amen!