The Wait We Don’t Want

2 "Don't walk" stop lights are lit up red with European style mult-story building in the background.

“You will be my witnesses,” Jesus told His disciples soon before He ascended to heaven. “But first, wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.”

Wait? This was the beginning of Jesus’ plan to change the world? It’s certainly not the way most of us would have started. When faced with an urgent task, an exciting vision, an important mission, waiting is usually the last thing on our minds.

As my husband and I were going through the long journey of preparing for the mission field, we often felt impatient. Classes, checklists, paperwork, planning, support raising, vision trip, more support raising, more paperwork.… When will these endless details end? When will we be real missionaries? When will we get past this in-between stage and get to work? 

Now fast forward to the time when we finally arrived on the mission field. After several weeks of settling in and learning the basics of our new context, we were eager to move ahead: start language lessons, build relationships, and … well, you know, the real stuff we came to this continent to do. But instead, I got seriously ill and we had to board a flight for what we thought would be a couple weeks in the capital city. It ended up being several months in a different country — months that held a lot of questions, a lot of in-between, a lot of waiting … and very little of what we would consider “the real stuff” we came here to do. 

After many weeks of recovery, we finally went back to the village — only to repeat the cycle. More settling in, more groundwork, and then just as we were ready to “really start” — another medical evacuation and another long season of in-between. 

I wanted to know what would happen next. He wanted me to know Him.

So many times I begged God: “Just show us what to do! If you want us to go back to the village, I’m willing. If you want us to go somewhere else, I’m willing. Take us anywhere, to do anything — just take us out of this in-between!” But every time I clearly heard the voice of the Lord during that difficult season, it was never an answer to my “what” and “where” and “when” questions. Instead, it was a promise: I am here. And a calling: Find me here. Seek me here. Trust me here. 

I wanted Him to take me out of this waiting season as soon as possible. He wanted to meet me in the midst of it.

I wanted to know what would happen next. He wanted me to know Him

Our in-between seasons often feel random, pointless, inefficient. Maybe the disciples’ time of waiting felt that way, too. But Jesus knew it was essential. No amount of going, doing, or planning could provide what they really needed (and what we really need!) — the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Before God worked through them, He wanted to work in them. And in order for this to happen, they needed to wait. 

In the midst of the questions, the frustrations, and the confusion, our wise Father patiently calls: Find me here. Seek me here. Trust me here. May He help us to hear and respond.

Esther Greenfield

Esther Anne Greenfield is a poet, missionary, third-culture kid, and mother. She learned to walk and write poetry in East Africa, and she fell in love with her husband on a summer internship in West Africa. Today they live in North Africa, with the goal of sharing God's Word with least-reached people. Esther's writings are inspired by her life in Africa and her love for Jesus. She blogs at

See All Posts by Esther Greenfield

Related Content

Make an Impact by Praying Now