It isn’t easy to continue going to church or trying to exercise a ministry during, or immediately after, a period of pain and suffering – and yet there is healing if we do so. I know how difficult it can be to go to a worship service and hear everyone singing happy hymns. One more happy chorus and I’ll scream! you think. But there is a certain therapy in worship and service. This is true because in ministry we often meet a lot of people who are a whole lot worse off than we are. It’s like the old saying, “I was sad because I had no shoes–until I met a man who had no feet!” In Christian service, we usually bump into quite a few people who have no feet! In helping and encouraging them, we find a measure of relief ourselves.
What did Jesus’ followers do while they were waiting for the Comforter to come after Jesus had ascended into heaven? “They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14). They also went to a great deal of trouble to choose a disciple to take the place of Judas, who had killed himself after betraying Jesus–and can’t you imagine the emotions this process brought up for all of them? At this point, their only instructions were to wait for the Holy Spirit. They waited in faith, restoring the apostles’ number back to the original twelve in the anticipation that their little organization–their body of Christ–would indeed move forward and continue Jesus’ ministry on earth. On the day of Pentecost, “they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). During their wait, all they knew to do was pray and stay together–and that’s what they did.
I find the examples of these faithful people practical and helpful. While I am waiting for God’s work in a difficult situation, I can realize my character is under divine reconstruction. I can try to normalize my routine (with lots of English cups of tea and a big pair of pruning shears or similar helps). I can continue my religious disciplines, whether I am feeling “connected” or not, and keep up whatever ministry is feasible for me. I can also try to mend whatever fences I can, and try not to worry too much about the ones only God can mend at some future date. Persisting in all of this will help me regain my spiritual perspective.
Are you in God’s waiting room? Are you waiting for a baby to be born? A prodigal to return? A spouse to reconcile? Are you waiting for someone to share your life with? For a job? For a cure? Wait on the Lord and not on the answer. Try to concentrate on His person, His plans and schedule – His business. Job’s growing faith did not stop the agony, but it helped him find a measure of productivity in his life, to the extent that the Scriptures say, “As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.”
Just Between Us Magazine