Waiting Upon The Lord (Here in Asia)
Waiting On God To Act Before . . .

Paul Is Waiting

"Paul was waiting." (Acts 17:16). Wait a minute! Paul the missionary is waiting? Paul, the one who fearlessly goes to many dangerous places and, without any hesitation, preaches to anyone who would listen is waiting? It is hard for me to comprehend the impulsive Paul, the pioneer missionary who has no qualm standing before kings and rulers, to have the time to sit down and wait. What would he do when he is waiting? 

It is not that Paul the missionary never had experienced a time of waiting. Before this time, Paul was locked up in a Macedonian prison. While waiting inside the jail, they sang hymns and songs. (Really, what else could you do inside a prison?) And so, what happened next resulted in the conversion of the jailer together with his family (Acts 16:22-40). In another occasion, Paul, with Silas, were waiting for the appointment for missionary work from the Church Council in Antioch. I suppose they were also singing hymns and spiritual songs while waiting for this formal endorsement (Acts 13:1-3). But I think, knowing Paul, he most probably was going around the city of Antioch talking to the many Christians in the area recruiting them to the work of cross cultural ministry. (Compare Acts 20:4.)

And because of this time of waiting in Athens, it resulted into an encounter with Greek philosophers and religious gentiles. Experts say this is Paul's first meeting with non-Jews who have no background or who are unfamiliar with the Torah or any of the teachings of the Jewish religion. And thus, we see Paul's "Sermon on Mars Hill," the famous preaching where Paul connected with his non Jewish listeners through his use of the "Unknown God." He truly crossed cultural boundaries and overcame philosophical obstacles by appealing to the people's gentile knowledge of the Creator God. He uses a gentile poet to affirm his statement: "For we also are His offspring" (Acts 17:28 NASB). As a result of this preaching, we see more and more Greek, Roman, and other gentile followers committing to the venture of missionary work in Asia (Acts 17:16-34). These are gentile Christian workers who speak the language of the non-Jewish population. And I would say, these are cross cultural missionaries who are better equipped, better than Paul, Silas, and Barnabas, in terms of relating the Christian gospel to the people in the area who have no history and experience with the Jewish culture and religion.

So, many beautiful things came about because of Paul's waiting. He was not waiting quietly, sitting down and doing nothing. He was, actually, waiting for Silas and Timothy to come from Macedonia. What did Paul do while he was waiting? First, he was looking around (Acts 17:16). This is just the typical Paul. You could never keep him still in one corner. He just had to go out and do something. Second, he had an emotional reaction (verse 16). He opened his heart. He was disturbed. So, being the Paul whom we all know, impulsive, go-getter, impatient, rash, etc., he sought an audience with the Jewish group in one of the local synagogues, and later, he ended up in an Areopagus, a Greek (and Roman) meeting place for scholars, thinkers, seekers, teachers of philosophy. You all know the story, right? (See Acts 17:16-34.) Many more believers from the gentile crowd joined Paul.

So, what did Paul do while he was waiting? He looked around and God did the rest. Are you waiting? Are you waiting for someone? Look around and soak in everything you see. And let God write His own story for you.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)