We Know Not When (Or Where Or How)

 We Know Not When (Or Where Or How)
Acts 1:6-11
Tamika Brown
Today is Ascension Day. It is the day that commemorates Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven and marks the 40th day after Jesus Christ's resurrection. While on earth, Jesus was a servant. Now in heaven, Jesus is the ruler and Lord of all. This is an important event because by entering heaven as the representative of mankind, Jesus completed the work of our salvation. Ascension celebrates the duality of Christ’s humanity and divinity.

I think the text for today’s devotional shows just how our humanity sometimes keeps us from truly reveling in all that God has in store for us. We question, we exclude, and we doubt.

In verse 6 the disciples question Jesus about His plans. Although this great thing was taking place, the same disciples who did not believe at the resurrection – after having spent 40 days with Jesus listening and learning – were still asking questions about what would happen. They are me. I am 'they". I like to KNOW what the plan is! The Lord is working on me y’all.

In verse 8 Jesus responds to them and in doing so points out something about their question in verse 6. His answer shows how the disciples immediately EXCLUDED everyone except the kingdom of Israel. Jesus reminds them that teaching, preaching, and spreading the gospel INCLUDES everyone. No one person should be valued more or less than another. And certainly not entire groups of people!

I pause here because this very notion of exclusion is threatening to rip our lives and country apart today. Our children are being taken from us while simply going to school, our elders are being taken from us while simply getting groceries; our family and friends are being taken from us while simply attending worship services. All this hate and judgement goes against everything that Jesus’ resurrection and ascension stand for.  Pastor Robinson preached a couple of weeks ago and pondered how different we might be if we truly stopped and asked, “What would Jesus Do?” … Beloved, I will give you a hint that the answer is never “nothing”. But that’s another devotional for another day.

Doubt means to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. Because the disciples did not receive the details of how and when, they doubted. Even after witnessing Christ’s Ascension, they doubted. Rather than moving forward with all that they had learned, v. 10-11 show that they stood and stared.

Now, a bit of shock is to be expected at such a miraculous time. It’s only human. But it begs a few questions for you and me:

  • In our lives, how often do we allow doubt to stop us from moving forward?
  • Do we allow doubt to completely paralyze us?
  • Do we allow doubt to make us retreat?
  • Or do we have a moment of doubt, acknowledge it, and continue to push forward on the path God has called us to take?

This Ascension Thursday and each day, we are charged to remember that although We Know Not When (Or Where Or How) we must continue to go forward. We must remember that going forward will place us in proper position at the appointed time. In other words, “if we STAY ready, we don’t have to GET ready!”

May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, May God hold you in the palm of God’s hand.
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