Wait Time

Teachers are often encouraged to establish a little strategy known as “Wait time” into their lessons. Wait time is the seconds or minutes of pause that comes after a question is asked. This period of silence is sometimes challenging for the teacher to not continue talking. With young students it can be a challenge to keep them focused on the topic. The strategy is meant to make the listeners uncomfortable enough that they are forced to answer or participate in the learning. Today I want to explore this concept from a perspective that God, the master teacher, exhibits “wait time” into our lives.

A year ago, we began to understand what a pandemic would feel like. Our schools and businesses closed. Life changed and a year later, we never expected to still be waiting for it all to end. The school where I worked closed permanently and I began waiting for a new assignment from God. I have been just like little pot waiting for something new.

I wrote a blog all about it here.

In the blog I share how Christ spoke the words, “It Is Finished.” Three days after Christ spoke those words, He rose from the dead. and the followers of Jesus had their faith restored. Once they accepted His resurrection, they quickly became re-focused on Jesus restoring their own desire for Israel. In Acts 1:6 they ask Him. Will you now restore Israel? Jesus answers (vs. 7) it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has set. I resonate with the concept that as soon as they have Jesus back, they begin to ask Him how He is going to accomplish their own immediate needs. His answer, however, is not the answer they (or I) want after a period of waiting.

Once he tells them, “It is not for you to know”, He ascends into the clouds. The followers are left standing there, gazing into Heaven. Do you ever wonder how long they stood there?  They had already been given the instruction and the next steps. They were going to receive power and then be a witness for Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, and the ends of the earth. But the followers of Jesus were not at all sure how that would all unfold. They had just seen him miraculously ascend into Heaven. So, they stood there starring at the clouds. I think they were waiting for something more to happen. Anything. What should they do next? I imagine so many questions were going through their minds. This “Wait-time” went on until two men in white robes appeared and asked them why they continued to star at the sky. The men explained that Jesus will return. Essentially, they were saying, “What are you waiting for?” This was not the place that Jesus told them to stay. Jesus told them to Go!

I think it ironic that even though I have the same command on my life, I find myself just standing still. I feel as if I need so much more information before I can begin to move. I simply do not know what to do next. Some days the possibilities are so many, I do not know which to tackle. Other days the possibilities seem so few, I feel the need to wait until something else comes along.  Either way, the truth is I am just as those men and women standing there starring at the sky. The wait time that Jesus puts in our lives is meant to grow us, not immobilize us. It is the time that we will become uncomfortable and be forced to participate in the conversation.

The followers of Jesus were told to go. Yet they still were waiting. How do we go and wait simultaneously? The next few verses of Acts 1 explain what we should do as we wait for what was to come.

  1. They returned to Jerusalem to the upper room. This was the place they met with Jesus before and after His resurrection (vs. 12), I am going back to the places that I have met with Jesus too. I have revisited Bible verses where He spoke to me, studied journal entries where we discussed previous events in my life, and reread favorite books that had a huge impact on my spiritual growth. (See below)
  2. They devoted themselves to prayer (vs. 14,) I am committing extra time to pray. I am searching scriptures to hear God speak and staying in continual conversation with Him.
  3. They continued to trust Jesus to provide (vs. 20-26). The disciples needed a person to replace Judas. They prayerfully asked Jesus to choose as they cast lots. As I look at new opportunities and consider various choices ahead of me, I must also trust that God is revealing the right path for me to take.

If good teachers know that “wait-time” is an essential part of every lesson, how much more essential is it for God in growing our relationship with Him? Is there something you are waiting on God for? We are all anxious for this season of a pandemic to end. We are tired of the waiting. I wonder, though, if we have considered that the wait time is intentional on His part and serves a better purpose than whatever it is we are waiting for?

Disclosure: The book links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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