One of the important aspects of following Jesus is learning to trust his timing in our lives. Our rapid pace of living, along with incredible advancements in technology, make it difficult for us to wait for anything. We have been conditioned to expect the immediate.
It is no trivial matter that some of Jesus' final words delivered to the apostles prior to his ascension revolved around the topic of waiting. Luke, the gospel writer, tells us:
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 heard me speak about." (Acts 1:4)
Final words are important. Research tells us that when a person is trying to remember a list of words, the easiest ones to recall from memory are the first and last words recorded in the list. Just imagine the disciples walking back to Jerusalem after seeing Jesus disappear in a cloud right before their eyes on the Mount of Olives. Think about their conversations with each other as they recalled some of the parting words of Jesus...Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait. I suspect the questions in the apostles' minds outweighed the answers as they trudged along the dusty road back to Jerusalem:
Wait? For how long? For "the gift" promised by the Father? What will the coming of the Spirit be like? How will we know the Holy Spirit's arrival?
Perhaps you feel as if God has placed you in a season of waiting right now.Maybe you're waiting to hear back regarding a job interview. Maybe you're trying to be patient as you wait for some important medical test results. You might even be waiting for "Mr. or Mrs. Right" to come along and deliver you from singleness.
Whatever the issue, we have all prayed the "How long, O Lord?" prayer before.
And yet, in the middle of our questioning prayers, we are called to trust in God's timing, believing that He not only knows what is best for us, but that He is also working things so He is most glorified.
By reading Acts, we can infer that the apostles had to wait approximately 10 days for the Holy Spirit to come at the Feast of Pentecost. The Greek word pentekostemeans 50th, indicating the 50th day after Passover. During the Passover (also referred to as the Feast of Weeks), Jews came from all over to celebrate God's provision and faithfulness in the wheat harvest. While the Jews in Jerusalem at that time thought they were there to celebrate the wheat harvest, God had a bigger plan. There was going to be a tremendous harvesting of souls when "about three thousand were added to their number that day" (Acts 2:41). The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost enabled people from every nation under heaven to hear the gospel presented in their languages when the Spirit filled the apostles and empowered them to speak in other tongues.
It is interesting that Pentecost was a one day feast. The population of Jerusalem was vastly inflated on Pentecost due to the worshipers traveling from a large geographical area. The sending of the Spirit on Pentecost maximized God's glory because when the worshipers heard the wonders of God being declared in their own languages and when they repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the newly saved returned to their homelands and served as missionaries to spread the gospel message. God's timing in sending the Spirit was perfect.
In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul uses Pentecost language when he writes, "...God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" (see Rom. 5:5). The pouring out of God's love in this passage is reminiscent of the pouring out of the Spirit on Pentecost.
And, in the next verse, Paul mentions the importance of timing:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
The crucifixion of Christ happened at the perfect time--when we were hopeless and powerless in our sin--so that God would receive maximum glory by demonstrating a most radical, saving love.
If you are waiting on God for something today, take some time and thank Him for sending His Son--at just the right time--to deliver you from sin. Thank Him for sending His Spirit--at just the right time--so that you have the opportunity of being born again. God's timing has been faithful and perfect in the past. His timing will continue to be perfect in the future; perfect to maximize His glory!