I was taking time to prepare breakfast for my toddler and I, to carry out my daily chores, and to get myself ready for the day. Through this very typical routine, I noticed a consistent pattern in conversation with my son. “I need you to wait”, I uttered at least a dozen times within an hour.
What a grand demand for a toddler with such small requests from his mommy. Without giving him redirection, waiting can seem like an eternity. I realized I needed to plan and provide a different direction for him to place his focus while he waited.
This simple, daily happening reflects an even bigger picture. I may find myself in a period of waiting upon the Lord. For example, I’ve requested for guidance in which path I should take next. I’ve asked for healing both physically and spiritually for myself or others. Regardless of what I pray, God’s response may not be immediate. I’m simply required to wait.
In the gospels, there are recorded events that lead up to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. Jesus had continuously foretold these events to his disciples. Leading up to it are accounts of what took place while they waited.
I noticed there was a considerable difference in how the disciples chose to wait versus the provisions that were given by Jesus. The disciples reacted in their own flesh and by their own strengths. What was made manifest due to their choices was painful to witness.
- They rebuked (to blame, to groan). While he [Jesus] was in Bethany.. a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume.. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present.. rebuked her harshly.- Mark 14:3-5 (NIV)
- They betrayed (to deliver up treacherously). Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He [Jesus] is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” ..immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.- Mark 14:44-45 (NKJV)
- They denied (to reject, to refuse). And when she saw Peter.. she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.”.. Mark 14:67-68 (NKJV)
- They slept (to yield to sloth and sin). Then He [Jesus] came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?- Mark 14:37 (NKJV)
The disciples clearly made poor choices that lead to much regret as they witnessed the prophesy of Jesus being unfolded before their very eyes. But, Jesus planned and provided a different direction for them to place their focus while they waited.
- Jesus was anointed (to make contact). Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil.., anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.. Jesus said, “..she has kept this for the day of My burial.- John 12:3&7 (NKJV)
- Jesus requested preparations (to make ready). Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”- Luke 22:8 (NIV)
- Jesus gave thanks and took communion (to obtain fellowship in the dignity and blessings of the Son of God). While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.– Matthew 26:26-27 (NIV)
- Jesus said to watch and pray (to be cautious, to take heed). Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.- Mark 14:38 (NIV)
There is much to be learned from both accounts. This has caused me to reflect upon what I will do during my period of waiting while on this Earth. I may be waiting for a prayer to be answered, or even grander yet, waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Regardless, I have the choice to follow that same painful path as the disciples did. Or, I can choose to follow the provisions that Jesus gives to redirect my attention while I wait.
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”- 1 Peter 4:7-11 (NIV)