In the upper room, the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit to come fill them and direct their next steps. I can imagine that after watching their leader crucified, even though Jesus rose from the dead and visited them, they were struggling with a variety of emotions.
Maybe at first, they were terrified. Disciples of The Way were being hunted and persecuted. It’s no wonder that they huddled in fear, praying and questioning what was going on.
They may have settled in after a week or two, but forty days is no short stint by our human standards. By week three or four, they might have begun asking if they heard correctly, or maybe they misunderstood.
“Wait for the gift…” he told them. “…when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” He promised them power in the midst of questionable circumstances.
While they waited, they prayed constantly. Peter reminded them of what the Scriptures said in Psalms as they looked for direction concerning filling the position of Judas who betrayed them all.
That’s a tough word to carry out for most of us. Whether waiting in line, waiting for dinner, or waiting for something serious like a prognosis or response to a job interview, it’s not easy for us to wait.
So, while we’re staying with our same Jesus-friend once again (weren’t we here three months ago?) we sense God saying “wait.” Like the disciples in Acts waited for the gift of the Holy Spirit, we wait for his instruction. Common sense says look for some place to live. One comes up and we sense “no.”
We feel guilty for not running after the possibility.
The places we’ve felt led to pursue have offered no response. Nothing of it makes sense. Everything feels backwards. And yet, there is peace even in the waiting. We see God changing our perspective, showing us his heart, teaching us how to trust his plan that is outside the box and far from our comprehension.
Is that how the disciples felt as they waited?
Of course, we know the rest of the story.
Forty days later (so many places in the Bible reference forty days…), the Holy Spirit showed up exactly as promised. Jesus’s followers would never have imagined the scene. Tongues of fire over their heads, speaking in languages they didn’t know, peace, excitement rushing through them as the violent wind of the Spirit blew through the crowd.
Such an unusual situation, that outsiders attributed it to drunkenness.
And then, confirmation.
Peter spoke the scriptures, reminding the people of the prophetic words spoken by Joel. (Joel 2:28-32)
It’s always easy to believe after the fact.
But in the middle?
While the crowd is pressed up against the Red Sea? When the doctor says “cancer”? When the hundredth job interview in two years is a decline?
When we’re sitting in a friend’s living room praying for the office, the home, the property to become a reality?
I’m sure others following God are experiencing similar journeys. And so, I’m sharing ours. Maybe in the waiting, someone will find hope simply knowing that they are not alone.
To be continued…