Do you like Easter?I thoroughly enjoy celebrating Jesus’ resurrection & His defeat over death!The next big celebration on the church calendar happens with Pentecost, the outpouring of Holy Spirit, & what a massive demonstration that was!!!So what about the middle time between Easter & Pentecost?What should we do in the middle, between these noteworthy events?
It seems to me that there’s a lot of our walk with God that happens in the middle. For example, we pray for something & then there’s often a middle time before we receive an answer. Or think about a time when God led you to start something & maybe you’ve done the beginning but you’re in the middle now, before you see the full culmination of what God has spoken to you.
In between Jesus’ resurrection & Pentecost, Jesus told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they’re clothed with power from Holy Spirit. I’m really confident that when Jesus told His disciples this, they didn’t know what to expect – they didn’t know what Pentecost would look like for them. They just knew there was something more on the horizon.
And I would encourage you, in the middle seasons, to anticipate & earnestly desire more of Holy Spirit in your daily living. More Holy Spirit can look lots of different ways for each of us, so let’s be careful not to specifically define what more is. Let’s just be open to having more of Holy Spirit in our lives!
Death is the pre-requisite for resurrection & today is that middle ground. Death happened on Good Friday & resurrection happens tomorrow. But the disciples didn’t know that Jesus would raise tomorrow, no matter how much He told them. And they knew He was dead with lots of uncertainty on the horizon. This is often how the middle feels – uncertain & tenuous.
I don’t think there’s anyone who is reading this now who isn’t in some middle place in life. We can find ourselves in the middle of: schooling, fighting a disease, a financial crisis, a relationship challenge, a difficult decision & heaps more.
So what do we do in the middle? Here are some suggestions that could be helpful:
1 – community: the disciples held together when they found themselves in the middle & waiting for what was next
2 – faith focus: let’s keep our attention on God who works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with Him
3 – purposeful farming: be sure to plant healthy seeds like patience, gratitude, diligence & others since we will reap what we sow 🙂
I’m waiting, maybe with some patience, in the airport here in Bangledesh because the Pope is just landing at the airport. Consequently, the airport is shut down & everything has come to a halt. Clearly, he’s a significant dignitary so everything is on pause at the airport until he clears out. This has thrown off everyone’s schedules, interrupted plans & is making a major headache for traffic.
So this makes me think about how i facilitate Jesus’ presence in my life. While i want my life to be convenient, smooth & hassle free, Jesus as my Sovereign, gets to interrupt & change my plans. What would be even more wise on my part, would be to proactively ask Jesus to direct my steps & maybe i can avoid some frustrations with plan changes. Or i can also aim to keep a flexible attitude & be patient in the various hassles & disruptions i can face in any given day 🙂
I️ don’t like slow, not in the least, so I’m always looking for ways to go faster & achieve more. But I️ find an internal conflict with the speed / achievement thing contrasting with my insatiable appetite for being close & intimate with God. I️ sense that for me, the desire to go fast & achieve heaps can be in direct competition with my passion to know Jesus better & walk with Him in increasing intimacy. So if I️ have to chose between speed / achievements or intimacy w Jesus, I’m choosing to be close to Jesus, even when that means that I️ need to slow down.
Practically speaking, this means that in my morning Bible time, I️ won’t be rushing to the next chapter, trying to read large quantities of content nor doing a daily plan for content optimization. It also means that my prayer time will be more about lingering & listening rather than talking & requesting.
Feel free to join the slow down adventure with me 😉
We all wait for answers on various things. We wait to hear about test results, tryout auditions, questions to be resolved, investments to mature & the list continues endlessly. It seems to me that waiting is a universally human experience. So while we wait for answers, what can we do?
Here are some helpful suggestions:
Exercise patience – in Luke 21:19, Jesus tells us, “In patience, possess your soul”. Easier said than done, for sure, but essential nonetheless!
Keep working – sometimes it helps to work on other projects while we wait, so that we don’t waste time 🙂
Chose to Trust – sometimes waiting is the best way to help us grow in our trust w God (Prov 22:19)
Chose peace & reject worry – be active in this decision so that worry doesn’t consume you!
Next time I decide to write a blog about waiting, I’ll certainly take a few minutes to reconsider. Yesterday morning, I wrote this lovely blog about the benefits of waiting. Little did I know that I’d be waiting for three hours for a delayed flight. Yesterday, I was forced to live in the “benefits” about which I wrote – easier said than done.
Sometimes we have “go seasons” where the waiting is over. These seasons can also be tricky to navigate for various reasons:
we’ve adjusted to “waiting” so “going” kind of upsets the applecart,
going can mean shifting into something unknown & for some folk that’s scary,
going requires more energy than waiting
Let’s be careful that we don’t use the idea of waiting as an excuse for procrastinating. Let’s be careful that we don’t let fear keep us stalled in a waiting mode. Let’s be careful that we don’t use waiting as a justification for being disobedient to something God has told us to do.
There are waiting seasons & there are going seasons. The key thing is to stay in step with the Holy Spirit in every moment!
I’m writing this in Indiana, as I’m waiting for a driver to take me to the airport. I was waiting earlier for an interview & when I get to the airport, I’ll wait some more to get on the airplane. Seems to me that we often spend time waiting for various things – stop lights, job interviews, school acceptance, for the right mate, direction from God & heaps more.
Sometimes it’s easy to get impatient in the waiting times. So here are some benefits to help you while you wait:
Waiting gives us the space to catch our breath & collect our thoughts
Waiting can be the prep time we need for the next season of busyness, activities & responsibilities
In Isaiah, it says that when we wait upon the Lord, He renews our strength & we all need supernatural strength
Coffee is important to me. I like the taste, it’s nice to have the little wake it gives me & sometimes it’s like a security blanket when I’m nervous or insecure. So waiting for coffee in the morning is kind of like a daily ritual, along with the exhale the accompanies my first sip 🙂
Sometimes coffee reminds me of the Holy Spirit, who comforts me, gives me power / energy & whose flavor infuses my life with delightful taste & aroma.
Because Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit is always with us, we don’t have to wait for supernatural Help. Rather, let’s pray to recognize & increase our sensitivity to Heavenly Help throughout today 🙂
I’m better at waiting than in the past. I say this as I sit here, during a several day pause, recovering from some shoulder surgery – waiting. Waiting for my body to go through the wonderfully God-created healing process that includes waiting. So if you find yourself in a holding pattern, or waiting, here are a few tips that might be helpful:
*life has seasons of ebb & flow, activity & pause, by Divine design
*there are really good lessons & outcomes that can be found & experienced in those waiting seasons
*relationships often grow deeper in the waiting seasons for the simple reason of being present – there’s good value in being present, especially with God!
*waiting immunizes us from the hurry up society & culture that can unknowingly affect our values & priorities
*waiting with grace & poise takes practice – be patient with yourself as you grow & mature
*waiting shouldn’t be used to justify lazy – these are entirely different topics
I was having a nice conversation with a friend & we were talking about how much we enjoy our daily prayer times with God. She said something that stuck with me in a funny way. She said, “I wish I didn’t have to leave God’s sweet presence when I have to move into the day’s activities & demands.” It was an interesting comment that has lingered in my mind for more than a year. When she first said this, I readily agreed with her with sadness. But after thinking about this for a few weeks, I started to consider that if God is everywhere at all times, then we never leave God’s presence.
Perhaps we get to discover God’s presence in different contexts: busy, still, anxious, peaceful, uncertain, stable, clear, restless, hopeful, discouraged, hurt, loved, weakness, strength, joy, pain, . . . . . Maybe we are learning to sense God in lots of different ways & contexts not only in the normal & expected ways 🙂
I was in a security line at the airport early this morning & it was moving rather slowly. Thankfully, most of us in the line were still pretty groggy so there wasn’t much complaining, except for the guy right behind me. He was really gripey & for me, gripey & groggy aren’t a good combination. Thankfully, God helped me to keep my mouth shut because when it was all said & done, we weren’t waiting for more than 10minutes – which points out a bit of a challenge for our modern living.
I think that if we aren’t careful, we can easily fall into the impatience trap & neglect to learn & practice waiting on God. There are LOADS of verses that speak to the importance of waiting on God & I would encourage you to explore what God says about waiting. But from my personal experience, waiting on God is a great way to be in God’s presence & God’s presence is my priority 🙂
So wait a second & grab some God time ,)
I know that the title to this blog is kind of a silly question because I think that we have all been disappointed with God at some point in our lives – maybe disappointed with an event, a prayer, a situation, a desired outcome that didn’t happen, etc. I was thinking about what it means to be disappointed with God and I remembered Martha and Mary’s statement to Jesus about how if Jesus had been present that their brother, Lazarus would not have died. Martha & Mary were pretty ripped up from their brother’s death and when Jesus showed up on the scene 4 days late, maybe it was like rubbing salt in their wounds, maybe.
But when we read this story, Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead before He did anything – and what He did far exceeded the expectations of Martha and Mary. From a human viewpoint, resurrection from the dead trumps a physical healing. But Lazarus’ sisters were disappointed with Jesus and Him being too late until He obliterated their disappointment with His resurrection power.
I have a couple of thoughts that we can carry into our daily living from this story about being disappointed with God:
God isn’t finished – life is a journey and process, so whatever seems permanent and finished could merely be a comma
Don’t hold onto grief and disappointment more than you hold onto God
God is good and loves us even when we don’t get what we want or seem to need
As we come to the conclusion of Winter, it seems like all of my kids “can’t wait for Spring!” I reminded them that once we hit the Spring, they’ll be saying that they can’t wait for Summer and a break from school. It seems like we humans can have some difficulties when it comes to waiting – whether it’s waiting in line at Walmart, waiting for some test results, waiting for a cake to rise or waiting for a bad hair cut to grow out (I never have this problem bc I love my hair cutting guy 🙂
Anyways, here are some good things to consider that are associated with waiting:
maturation & refining – like a fine wine, time can often help us to be more wise & refined
greater awareness – often if we will give time a chance to work its magic, we will see things that we would have missed from being impatient
discipline – being impulsive tends to create half-baked results, but waiting gives us the benefit of growing in our ability for self-control
space & time to check my heart – it seems like when I’m always in a hurry that checking in with my heart and the Holy Spirit unfortunately tends to take a back seat to activity & speed