For many of us (myself included) patience does not come naturally. We want what we want and we want it now. This is just human nature and without proper instruction and God’s help we will remain impatient creatures indefinitely.
I believe that the disciples were impatient men. Notice their question to Jesus in the first chapter of Acts:
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)
They had reason to be excited. Jesus was alive! He really had come back from the dead!
I am sure that the disciples believed that if Jesus could overcome death then he could do anything. Not only that, they believed that Jesus would continue on with them and eventually overthrow the oppressive Roman government and begin his earthly rule as a king. Their question to Jesus reveals their impatience and the type of salvation that they were looking for. (an earthly one rather than a spiritual one)
So they asked Jesus a simple question: “Hey, is it time for you to restore Israel and fix our political situation?” was the gist of what they were saying. And how did Jesus answer them?
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
He tells them that the knowledge that they are asking for is beyond them and belongs solely in the dominion of God. Then he redirects their inquiry and their energy into an altogether different task. They are to be witnesses of God’s grace and message of redemption when they have received the power of the Holy Spirit.
Put in another way, Jesus was telling the disciples that they would receive all that they needed (the power of the Holy Spirit – which is now available to all believers all the time!) and that they would be made perfectly fit for the task at hand and not to worry about what would happen when because those details belong in God’s hands.
I don’t know about you but I find this passage incredibly comforting. Like the disciples I sometimes (ok, frequently) ask God questions about “when” or “why”. And sometimes He answers me. But more often that not He tells me exactly what Jesus told the disciples: “I have given you all that you need. I am making you perfect for the task at hand. Be my witness and leave the “when” and the “why” up to me”.
Are you a redeemed child of the King? If so, rejoice that God is making you perfect. Waiting may be hard and we may not know or understand God’s timing but we can know and understand His heart. And that is enough for now.