WAITING ON GOD:
ffor tbe promise of tbz jfatber.
'He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father.'—Acts i. 4.
IN speaking of the saints in Jerusalem at Christ's birth, with Simeon and Anna, we saw how, though the redemption they waited for is come, the call to waiting is no less urgent now than it was then. We wait for the full revelation in us of what came to them, but what they scarce could comprehend. Even so it is with waiting for the promise of the Father In one sense, the fulfilment can never come again as it came at Pentecost. In another sense, and that in as deep reality as with the first disciples, we daily need to wait for the Father to fulfil His promise in us. The Holy Spirit is not a person distinct from the Father in the way two persons on earth are distinct . The Father and the Spirit are never without or separate from each other: the Father is always in the Spirit; the Spirit works nothing but as the Father works in Him. Each moment the same Spirit that is in us, is in God too, and he who is most full of the Spirit will be the first to wait on God most earnestly, further to fulfil His promise, and still strengthen him mightily by His Spirit in the inner man. The Spirit in us is not a power at our disposal. Nor is the Spirit an independent power, acting apart from the Father and the Son. The Spirit is the real living presence and the power of the Father working in us, and therefore it is just he who knows that the Spirit is in him, who waits on the Father for the full revelation and experience of what the Spirit's indwelling is, for His increase and abounding more and more.
See this in the apostles. They were filled with the Spirit at Pentecost. "When they, not long after, on returning from the Council, where they had been forbidden to preach, prayed afresh for boldness to speak in His name— a fresh coming down of the ndy Spirit was the Father's fresh fulfilment of His promise.
At Samaria, by the word and the Spirit, many had been converted, and the whole city filled with joy. At the apostles' prayer the Father once again fulfilled the promise. Even so to the waiting company —' "We are all here before God'—in Cornelius' house. And s& too, in Acts ziii. It was when men, filled with the Spirit, prayed and fasted, that the promise of the Father was afresh fulfilled, and the leading of the Spirit was given from heaven: 'Separate Me Barnabas and Saul.'
So also we find Paul in Ephesians, praying for those who have been sealed with the Spirit, that God would grant them the spirit of illumination. And later on, that He would grant them, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man.
The Spirit given at Pentecost was not a something that God failed with in heaven, and sent away out of heaven to earth. God does not, cannot, give away anything in that way. When He gives grace, or strength, or life, H» gives it by giving Himself to work it—it is all inseparable from Himself.1 Much more s*. the Holy Spirit. He is God, present and working in us: the true position in which we can count upon that working with an unceasing 1 See note on Law, The. Power of the Spirit.
power is as wo, praising for what we have, still unceasingly wait for the Father's promise to be still more mightily fulfilled.
What new meaning and promise does this give to our life of waiting! It teaches us ever to keep the place where the disciples tarried at the footstool of the Throne. It reminds us that, as helpless as they were to meet their enemies, or to preach to Christ's enemies, till they were endued with power, we, too, can only be strong in the life of faith, or the work of love, as we are in direct communication with God and Christ, and they maintain the life of the Spirit in us. It assures us that the Omnipotent God will, through the glorified Christ, work in us a power that can bring to pass things unexpected, things impossible. Oh 1 what will not the Church be able to do when her individual members learn to live their lives waiting on God, and when together, with all of self and the world sacrificed in the fire of love, they unite in waiting with one accord for the promise of the Father, once so gloriously fulfilled, but still unexhausted.
Come and let each of us be still in presence of the inconceivable grandeur of this prospect: the Father waiting to fill the Church with the Holy Ghost . And willing to fill me, let each one say.
With this faith let there come over the soul • hush and a holy fear, as it waits in stillness to take it all in. And let life increasingly become a deep joy in the hope of the ever fuller fulfilment of the Father's promise.
'My ioul, wait thou only upon Ood /'