That rocking musical bard, Tom Petty, famously proclaimed that the waiting is "the hardest part."
For disciples of Jesus living in the breach between the astonishing Ascension and the promised Pentecost, it may not have been "the hardest part." After all, the three days that Christ was in the tomb must have been unbearable.
Moreover, they had just spent forty days encountering the Risen Lord, so they knew that he could and would deliver on anything. But it still must have felt like a long wait. Uncertainties must have abounded. Indeed, who or what was this Advocate--this powerful Paraclete, this consoling Comforter--whom Jesus guaranteed would soon arrive?
From our perspective, time always seems to slow down when we have to play the waiting game. From our Lord's perspective, however, the waiting is always just "a little while" (Jn 16:16)!
The only way for us to close the gap and to get a glimpse of this "little while" is through prayer. It is a matter of asking for the wisdom to see things from the Lord's perspective. It is a moment-by-moment return to any one of these mantras which can transform a good, deep breath into a silent prayer:
- Father, thy will be done...
- Jesus, I trust in you...
- Come, Holy Spirit...
After prayerful waiting, even if only for a little while, the time always comes for Jesus to send his disciples on mission. The Lord promises, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). Both the call and the power to fulfill the mission are gifts from on high.
And this waiting-turned-sending is the sweetest part!
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful...