Peace be with you!
In the world, we are not accustomed to waiting. The internet and smartphones have created instant communication. Just today I approached two potential personal caregivers through Care.com and corresponded with both three or four times in the matter of minutes. I sent an email to a wheelchair dealer about test-driving a few power wheelchairs and got an immediate respond. Personally, I get frustrated if someone does not reply to an email within twenty-four hours, excluding my editor and a few friends. I expect an immediate response, which I recognize as one of my many flaws.
Like myself, the disciples are looking for an immediate answer to their prayers. The disciples act like pleading children by asking Jesus, “Isn’t it time for us conquer the Roman Empire and take over the kingdom of Israel? You came back from the death. Surely it is time take back what is ours” (Acts 1:6). The disciples think they know what is coming next. However, Jesus says, “Hold up; we are not conquering any empires. You cannot imagine what God the Father has planned or how he plans on using his authority, but you will receive power through the Holy Spirit soon and you will be sent all over the world” (Acts 1:7-8).
It is easy to speculate what we should do next. You graduated from high school, so you should go to college or get a job. What about spending a year volunteering through Lutheran Volunteer Corps or the Red Cross? Not knowing your next is scary and not something you feel comfortable with.
The limbo state exposes your vulnerable side. You are constantly justifying your in-between status to people you meet and hang out with. You are constantly asking God questions regarding the next phrase in your life. You are constantly pleading with God to give you some kind of direction. Not knowing leaves you scared and uncomfortable.
It is in this confusing limbo state that Jesus pleads with you to be patient and wait for him to reveal his plan. Jesus asks you to sit in steadfast prayer by finding a quiet place talk with him. Prayer invites you into a relationship with God the Father and allows you to reflect on what really matters and where God is leading you next. Being in limbo takes patience, perseverance, and prayer. It takes being vulnreable in the presence of others to find your footing in the world. One person you can be vulnerable with is God the Father who will always lift you up and show you where to go (on his timetable).
Jesus never promised following in his footsteps would be the easy road. Rather he promised just the opposite: the road would be steep, curving, off cliffs, over strong currents of waters, and through dense fog. The road would be poorly-marked and would often feel like a dead end. However, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, an advocate, to lead us through the difficult terrain. The Holy Spirit will be here with us as we go out into the world.
For the most part, we do not like to wait. Our societal norms are geared toward a fast-paced world. Yet Jesus pleads with us to slow down and find time to pray. Jesus is inviting us into a relationship with him. Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit will lead us to go out into the world to share the good news. Jesus promises something more is coming; we just have to be patient.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Help us to be patient as we wait for you to reveal your plan. Give us quiet spaces to be in conversation with you. Lead us along the dangerous road in the world. Thank you for hearing our prayers. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- When and where do you pray?
- Where is God leading you today?