Waiting is literally one of the most difficult activities in the world. Whether it is waiting in line, waiting for the doctor, waiting for your table at a restaurant, waiting for a wedding day or the birth of a child not many of us enjoy the waiting game. If you are like me, waiting for change to come is one of the toughest things we have to do, and we often wonder why change is so slow in coming. This is particularly true when it comes to prayer. We pray for change in some sort of situation, but we often wonder if it will ever happen. Waiting for God to answer our prayers in challenging situations is one of the most difficult of endeavors, but the truth is, this is what faith is all about: trusting in things we can’t see, believing that God will answer and leaning into this each and every day!
In our current world of 2020, almost everyone can relate to this reality of waiting for change to happen. We desperately want the pandemic to end, the world to reopen, to see attitudes shift, see deep healing to happen but we really want these things on our time table and if we are honest, we are tired of waiting! We want them NOW!
But as always, as we seek God through His word, we can find answers and hope! For those who are Christ followers, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that change will only happen through a move of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men and women, but the question is when will God make a move? The truth is, because he is God, it is entirely up to Him! In other words, we can not make it happen; we can’t orchestrate a move of God anymore than we can make a plant grow because it will happen exactly in the time frame and the method that He has planned!
Acts chapter 2:1-4 gives us a simple but profound truth about the movement of the Holy Spirit:
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
The Key word here is SUDDENLY! (Suddenly means unexpected) It means that although Jesus had promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come, He did not tell them when it would happen; He just told them that it would happen: “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
There are a lot of powerful truths in these verses, but I just want to highlight this one reassuring fact: when it comes to the movement of the Holy Spirit, we need to understand that He moves SUDDENLY – unexpectedly! While we may not enjoy the wait, we need to be clear that just because change is not happening on our time table, does not mean that God is not working. The Spirit of God moves and works according to His plans and no amount of human actions will “make” God’s Spirit move. Now, don’t get me wrong. We have things to do while we wait, but we do not have any say so in the when, the where and the how it will happen.
Consider the disciples. Jesus had risen from the dead and for forty days he was with them in His resurrected state teaching and preparing them for the day of His ascension back to heaven. On his final time with them, He instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit; however, He didn’t give them a specific time that this would occur; He just said “not many days from now”. It turned out to be ten days later that His Holy Spirit came – SUDDENLY.
So, what were they doing while they waited? According to Acts 1:14, “all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” The simple fact is that they were living in unity (one accord) and were committed to prayer and their prayer was fueled by their faith in His promise. ! I am sure that they would have loved for the Lord to send the Holy Spirit on the first or second day, but it was a ten day wait. Yet, they KNEW that He would send it because He said He would!
What does this truth about the Holy Spirit teach us? Well, the lessons are endless, but the one I am embracing today is that as I await change – change in the lives of people I know, change in culture, change in the overall state of the world, I must not STOP praying! While I may not see what God is doing, I must trust His promise that He will move! Faith in God’s promises are what ignite our prayers. So DON’T STOP PRAYING!
And, don’t miss the other aspect of this scene from Acts. They were praying together, so don’t underestimate the power of praying with your brothers and sisters! This is why we need to get back to meeting together!!
The truth is, as we come together as a body of believers, trusting in His word, praying in “one accord” for His power to change the lives of people we love and the lives of people all over the world, SUDDENLY we will see just what God has been up to!
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