Wait Time in the Classroom … and Life

Teachers are often encouraged to establish wait time in the classroom. Wait time is the seconds or minutes of pause that come 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. However, the strategy is meant to make the listeners uncomfortable enough that they are forced to answer or participate in the learning. Therefore, I want to explore this concept from the perspective that God, the master teacher, exhibits wait time in the classroom of life.

A year ago, we began to understand what a pandemic would feel like. Consequently, 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. I shared about it here. I began waiting for a new assignment from God. After that, I became like Little Pot, waiting for something new.

Will you do it now?

In that 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.

Why do you stand looking at the sky?”

Wait time in the classroom may cause your students to stare at the sky.

Once Jesus answers his students with, “It is not for you to know”, He ascends into the clouds. The followers are left staring into Heaven. Do you wonder how long they stood there?  Jesus had already told them their next steps. They would receive power and then be a witness of Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, and the ends of the earth. But the followers of Jesus were not sure how that would unfold. They had just seen him miraculously ascend into Heaven. So, they stood staring at the clouds. 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 stare at the sky. The men explained that Jesus will return. Essentially, they were saying, “What are you waiting for?” Jesus did not tell them to stay there. Jesus told them to Go! 

What is wait time for?

It is ironic that even though I have the same command in my life, I find myself just standing still. I feel as if I need so much more information before I can begin to move. For instance, 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 like those men and women standing there staring at the sky. The wait time that Jesus puts in our lives is meant to grow us, not immobilize us. We become uncomfortable and are forced to participate in the conversation.

How do we go and wait simultaneously?

Jesus told His followers 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. They met with Jesus before and after His resurrection here. (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. Secondly, 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. Thirdly, 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.

Wait time is essential.

If good teachers know that wait time in the classroom 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? I wonder 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?

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