Two simple words which cause us so much trouble!
Jesus told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Lk 10. 2-3
Jesus gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 4-5
Why is it so hard to do what Jesus commands us to do? Why do we think we know better? Part of the “going” and “waiting”, for Jesus, involved teaching (presuming we’ve first learned ourselves) others to obey (Mt 28.20). Another word we don’t like! But there it is, 4 times from the lips of the Lord in ten short verses (Jn. 14.15-24) culminating with: “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
Going and waiting are hard. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. Jonah wanted Judgment.
Peter found himself in slightly different circumstances.
Speaking to a confused church, which apparently wanted God to get on with the judging and were frustrated with waiting, the Apostle penned these words: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3.9)
God does not view time and circumstance as we do. He calls us to go to a broken world (from which we want to run) and to wait in the midst of the sadness and ugliness and pain of human brokenness. This waiting, though, is not a passive waiting. It’s a waiting that brings with it the power of the Spirit which empowers our proclamation and demonstration that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that the only appropriate response to the presence of God’s Kingdom is repentance and believe (Mk. 1.15). The Lord’s seeming delay in bringing about the consummation of all things is not a result of His indifference but of His patience – a waiting for all who will come to repentance.
How utterly unlike Him I am.
It is uncomfortable to live in a sinful world.
And the truth is, I’d rather be comfortable.
I wonder how you’re doing in regard to going and waiting? I wonder to whom the Lord has said for you to “go” but you’re waiting? I wonder how many circumstances you find your patience being tried because you are so ready to go – and yet the Lord seems to have said, “wait”?
Do you have a heart that is content with going and waiting as the Lord leads?
Jesus never intended for the faith to be lived out in the imaginary realm of supposition and make believe. Instead you and I are called to fully live in the present, sometimes hard pressed, sometimes perplexed, sometimes knocked down, but never crushed or abandoned – always carrying within our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed. Always accompanied by and filled with the Spirit
Two very difficult words.