“Waiting: One of the Most Difficult Aspects of Discipleship” ”
“And while being in their company and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, of which [He said] you have heard Me speak. For John baptized with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4,5 The Amplified Bible
We 21st Century people are not into waiting, are we?….and yet, we spend countless minutes each day just going through our daily routines at home and work…waiting to check out in the grocery line, waiting to speak to a real live person on the phone (or leave a message), waiting for people who are late to meetings, going through the loops as we navigate computer programs and surf the web, waiting on lengthy red light changes at busy intersections, waiting on our doctors to finally see us, waiting for test results, waiting on (I’ll let you fill in the blank here)! Waiting, waiting, and more waiting.
Countless minutes that can, far more quickly than we realize, add up over the months and years. There is as particularly large, busy intersection in our area that I have to travel through frequently to run errands and go visit in our people. During the height of rush hour it can be a mini-nightmare to cross. Each of the complete light change takes five minutes to change from red to green. One afternoon, I waited through FOUR of these cycles to cross the intersection. Twenty minutes spent trying to get through a single intersection! Yet there was nowhere to turn around or take an alternative road. Stuck in traffic, Period.
And yet, this modern understanding of “wait” – as in “expecting an event” is not a complete understanding of the Hebrew sense of the word, but is only a part of what this tiny, but important word means for believers. While we know our English translation of the New Testament was translated from the Greek, there is a fascinating, growing body of evidence being developed by David Biven and other contemporary Bible scholars that indicate the Gospels and Acts may well have been written originally in Hebrew – then translated into Greek as the gospels spread throughout the Mediterranean world by Paul and others during the first several centuries of the Church.
At the very least, even if written originally in Greek, as most earlier historical research assumes these days, it was undeniably written by Jewish writers who may have written in the Greek language – but from a Hebrew linguistic perspective of their “mother-tongue”. So for these reasons, I looked in the Gesenius’ Lexicon of the Hebrew language to check for a better understanding of “wait”.
I first studied the word “wait” years ago when the Holy Spirit directed me to become focused – immersed, if you will — on the study of the Old Testament as the Hebraic roots of the New Testament and Christianity. During this particular word study I went to the book of Isaiah to look at one of the best known Old Testament scriptures that speaks about “they that wait upon the Lord”… Isaiah 40:31.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
“Wait” in Hebrew is the word, qavah (pronounced kah vah’, using the short vowel sound for “a”). And, as one might expect, one of the meanings does indicate a sense of lingering and waiting for expected event to occur. Yet, the other meaning of the word wait means, “to collect, bind together, to be strong, robust, for the notion of ‘binding fast’ or tightly about”—like a wild vine wrapped within the links on a chain-link fence.
With this in mind, Jesus is telling His disciples to remain in Jerusalem, waiting – not merely in anticipation – but intentionally binding themselves to Him and together as the body of Christ, meeting and eating together, spending their time each day in prayer and studying the Scriptures together – to prepare their hearts and minds for the soon coming baptism of the Holy Spirit by which they will be filled with a Holy Power from heaven.
The task they have lying ahead of them is overwhelming and enormous at the very least. Their lives will be forever changed. They willingly, out of their love and devotion to Jesus Christ will face incredible hardships, beatings, starvation, imprisonment, rejection and persecution – and all of them, except for John, will endure horrific suffering as they die painful deaths as martyrs because they refuse to deny Christ and keep preaching the Word no matter what the cost!
Knowing and understanding all of this is an humbling experience – especially when I realize how little it takes to get me upset, frustrated, and full of self-pity as I go about my daily tasks. Who am I to complain about anything? If we were to emulate these stalwart early disciples and “wait” – prioritize and intentionally carve out the BETTER PART of our days (not just the “left-over minutes”) to study, pray and sit at the feet of Jesus … what changes might happen?
How would our lives change for the better?
How much more strength would we have to confront the stress and chaos of each day?
How would the witness of our lives change for the better?
How much more of the peace of Christ would truly live in our hearts and guide us into the wisdom of God in making daily decisions?
How much more of the love of Christ would we have to give to others?
The scriptures say we will be know as the people of Christ by our love. That being the truth of the Word of God – what does our love say about us as believers, as Easter People at this very moment — today? Are we willing to wait in His presence to be more of who He calls us to be?
By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within each believer, I pray that we will gain a whole new perspective on “waiting”, and seek His face with greater fervor and passion each and every day.
From my heart to yours . . .Kay!