This is the first day after Ascension Day. The disciples saw Jesus ascend into heaven. They heard the angels explain, “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) Now what?
They had heard Jesus tell them to wait. “Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) Wait. Until what?
We are heading into Memorial Day weekend; and there is an old saying, “War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” All through life there are the in-between times and those times are full of waiting. Day 1 – of the wait in between Jesus’ Ascension and whatever was coming next, and they did not know what it was.
How do you wait? How do you fill the in-between?
Sometimes the in-between stretches on and on.
- Abraham waited until he was one hundred years old for the promise of a son. He did not always stay on track.
- Moses waited forty years, watching sheep for his father-in-law, Jethro, until God spoke to him. In the in-between he got married, had children, and gave up on his belief that he could lead his people the Israelites. When he had finally given up then he was ready.
- David was anointed king. In between anointing and throne was years of hiding, sleeping in caves, and worse.
How did the disciples fill the in-between? Luke tells us they “were continually in the temple blessing God.” (Luke 24:53) That’s pretty good! Seeking out the will, words, and promises of God; spending time in prayer, praise and worship is exactly what they needed to do. They were in-between, and they did not know what direction God would send them, or what He had planned for them. The only way to prepare was to spend time with God.
Do you realize there is a far more profound example? There was an in-between, between infancy and twelve years old, and another in-between, between twelve years old and about thirty years old. In that in-between Jesus “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) Growing up and searching the Scriptures was the pattern for Jesus Himself. And then the in-between continued. No matter how busy things became Jesus went out to take in-between time. The Gospels tell us how He went out early in the morning for prayer (Mark 1:35) , and after feeding the 5,000 went up on the mountain at the end of the day to pray (Matthew 14:22-23) .
Isaiah describes how important the in-between time was for Jesus, “Morning by morning … He awakens My ear to hear as those who are taught.” (Isaiah 50:4) Taking in the Word of God, Jesus was prepared to do the will of His Father, the great works of salvation. Again, Isaiah prophesies, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.” (Isaiah 50:4)
Out of the in-between time Jesus comforted, strengthened the weary, healed the sick, raised the dead, and finally carried the sins of the world to bring us salvation.
Jesus taught His disciples, and by His teaching they spent their in-between time in worship, searching the Scriptures, and prayer. On the tenth day came the day of Pentecost and preaching the Gospel.
And now a whole lot of us have in-between time. How are we doing? How is our waiting? How are we filling the in-between time? We do not know what is coming next. How are we preparing?
Lord Jesus, guide my moment and my days. Lead me into Your word. Help me to be diligent, looking deeply into Your will, and Your promises. Guide me in repentance and faith that I may be focused on the things of life, eternity, and salvation. As You prepared day by day to strengthen the weak and comfort the distressed, send me also to speak Your words of mercy to hearts needing to hear Your comfort. Amen.