We find ourselves at different stages of life and faith. Our faith, like our life, is a journey. Whether new, renewed, energized, fresh, tired, questioning, frustrated, excited, encouraged, curious, or bewildered, we find ourselves asking, “What now?” Some of us ask this more often than others, some too much. I’m guilty.
The disciples found themselves asking that question after Jesus was resurrected and then left them. Two angels appeared to them as they gazed into the cloud into which Jesus disappeared asking, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” (Acts 1:11).
We often find ourselves at two extremes when asking God “what now.” We either scurry around trying to make things happen for ourselves or, like the disciples, we stand staring at God anticipating and demanding action now.
The words Jesus shared with his disciples after his resurrection and before his ascension provide guidance to us just as they did his disciples who were asking “what now.”
Jesus told them:
1. Wait, be patient. Jesus told the disciples to wait on the Holy Spirit, the gift that God had promised them. Sometimes we need to wait on the gifts God has for us. The disciples were also anxious, asking questions about when things would happen. Jesus told them that things will happen in God’s time. Their timing isn’t our concern.
2. You are not alone. The disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit, which we also enjoy. Just like the disciples, Jesus did not leave us alone and we don’t have to do this by ourselves. God is with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
3. Be my witness. Jesus instructed the disciples to be his witness to the ends of the earth. This doesn’t mean that we need to pack up and get going. It simply means that we should be witnesses to God’s love and the grace of Jesus Christ everywhere, all the time.
4. Feed my sheep. Peter, with whom we all have a lot in common, was told by Jesus to feed and take care of his sheep. And, like Peter, that is what we should do. That is how we bear witness to God’s love and the grace of Jesus Christ -- by feeding God’s sheep. All of them. Everyone.
What now? Our answer is clear. It only requires a little faith, a bit of patience, and our willingness to let go and show our love to everyone.