Waiting is hard. Most of us can think of about a million things we'd rather do than wait. On anything. This is especially true when there is any sense of anxiety around the end of the waiting - what will happen, what won't happen, what will be true, what might be true, what it might mean for our next steps, whatever.
Recently, I found myself in a short, but painful period of waiting. I guess, to some degree, I'm still in it. And in the midst of it, I find my thoughts going back to one example that, honestly, we don't even have and yet, I draw so much strength from this:
The disciples on Saturday.
The Bible doesn't tell us anything about what the disciples did on Saturday. Nothing. Jesus dies on Friday, and He rises on Sunday, and at least one of the disciples is present in both of these scenes, but for Saturday, we get nothing.
Now, I'm someone who likes to keep busy in the waiting. I like to have something to do to occupy my mind. And my hands. I like to have other things to think about and to focus on, and that's especially true in the age of the internet, where any one of us could spend our entire season of waiting performing internet searches on worst-case scenarios and all the little things that might happen but probably won't. (Anyone ever visit WebMD?)
That's why the disciples' example is so poignant for me.
We don't know a lot about their Saturday, but we know a couple of things. But let's start with their Friday. On Friday, their whole world came crashing in. Everything they'd invested themselves in for the better part of three years vanished, just like that. No longer were they the in-crowd, but now, they were rebels with a crucified leader. Peter couldn't even tolerate being associated with Jesus at His trial. They had thought they were part of something great and wonderful and world-changing and now, here they were, trying not to get crucified themselves just for being affiliated with the so-called King of the Jews who just, by the way, died a criminal's death, albeit pretty spectacularly. Nonetheless, here the disciples are, trying to figure out what's still real, what comes next, what to do with themselves, how their lives might change from here on out. They're asking all the questions we ask in a season of waiting, when something in our foundation has been shaken and we don't know how it all shakes out.
And then, they did something amazing: they did nothing.
That was their Saturday. Saturday for these faithful Jews was the Sabbath; they weren't allowed to do anything. They weren't allowed to work. They weren't allowed to stay busy. They weren't allowed to throw themselves into something to forget all of the anxiety and questions that they had. They could worship; they could pray; and they could rest. That's it.
You know what? I think that's best.
It's something I've been trying in some of my seasons of waiting, although I confess that with this particular one, I've done less well at it. But I think we ought to take more of our seasons of waiting as Sabbath blessings - opportunity to worship and to pray and to rest. Who among us doesn't need a little more rest?
Because the truth is that all the anxious activity I've ever done, all the questioning, all the wondering, all the wandering, it has never changed the outcome at all, and it has never prepared me more to handle whatever comes next. By the time whatever it is comes, I'm so exhausted that I can't possibly deal with one more thing because I've already been dealing with it forever without even knowing what it is, and it's taken all my resources and left me empty.
But worship. But prayer. But rest. In the waiting, these things fill us up. These things settle us down. These things keep us ready for whatever comes next because they put it all right where it belongs. Rather, I should say, they put us right where we belong - in His hands. And one of the things I've learned in all of my seasons of waiting, especially the ones I've done well, is that the greatest comfort of all is not knowing that God's got this, whatever it is.
It's knowing that He's got me.
And the only way to get there is to be still...and know. To rest.