The eV&B Bulletin

Tarrying: Between the Ascension and the Day of Pentecost

eV&B Bulletin: August 20, 2010

eVB logoThe Hebrew Feast of Weeks was celebrated seven weeks after the Feast of Firstfruits on the fiftieth day.

Leviticus 23:15-16:
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
15 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.

After the Christian era began, this feast adopted its Greek name Pentecost (fifty days).

Acts 2:1:
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Jesus was crucified on the Feast of Passover. He was buried during the feast of unleavened bread and he was raised from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits. You and I can scoff that such obvious hints were ignored by the people living at the time. But after Jesus returns and the spiritual veil is completely removed from our eyes, I’m sure we will all be amazed – and somewhat embarrassed – by the obvious truths we missed.

After his resurrection Jesus spent forty days teaching his apostles.

Acts 1:3:
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

During these days Jesus gave them a special word of promise and instruction.

Luke 24:49:
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for something wonderful. Looking back we know that the promise came on the Day of Pentecost, just ten days after the ascension.

Did you ever wonder why Jesus did not tell the apostles that the power from on high would come on Pentecost? Jesus did not tell the apostles how long they had to tarry. He just told them to tarry.

Acts 1:7:
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

In the church, waiting on the Lord is in danger of becoming a lost virtue. Religious hucksters promote a form of godliness that suggests that the reward of true faith is instantaneous deliverance from all problems. Anyone who reads the Bible – without reading into the Bible – knows that this is simply not what God promises.

Modern Christians seem prone to lose their faith if they have to wait ten minutes, much less ten days or ten years, to receive an answer to their prayer. As a result they have lost their ability to endure.

James 5:11:
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Over the past six months I have been specially challenged to learn how to tarry without losing my faith. For several years I tried to ignore a patch of plantar warts that had developed on the heel of my right foot. I tried a few over-the-counter medications and even some folk remedies. Despite my efforts the warts continued to spread. Last November I finally went to see a foot doctor. For the next four months I received treatments every two weeks as he tried to burn out the warts with a strong acid. I was more or less bedridden for five days after each treatment, and even with the prescribed medicine the pain was close to unbearable. By the time the pain had subsided I was due for the next treatment.

At first my doctor did not expect the treatments to be so extended. By March he recognized that he would have to move on to Plan B. He surgically removed the warts, leaving a hole two-inches in diameter in my heel. Then a new phase of the treatment began, the phase I am currently in.

I have to stay off my foot until the skin grows back. If not, my heel will develop calluses instead of new skin, and I’ll be worse off than when I started. I cannot get my foot wet, which means I cannot take a shower or bath. At first I was in a wheelchair. Now I mostly get around on crutches.

A few weeks after surgery, Dr. Richardson had to remove some scabs that had formed on the wound. The scabs were impeding the growth of new skin. I have to tell you, if pain could make a person turn inside-out, I’d truly be wearing my heart on my sleeve.

Last week I got some good news. The skin is growing back quicker than was expected and in about two weeks, I should be able to start putting weight on my foot… and taking a shower again (Hallelujah!). It will still be awhile before I can walk normally but now at least there is light at the end of my tunnel.

Since this ordeal began, I have had to do a lot of waiting. Back in November, I thought my problems would be solved in one or two treatments. I fully expected to keep my schedule of missions to Africa in January and March. Again and again I had to postpone my trips. After the surgery I scheduled a trip to Tanzania for late May. I then learned that I needed to stay off my foot until June. To be honest, there were days I was pretty downcast.

I guess you could say that these past months have been my personal experience of Romans 8.

Romans 8:22-23:
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

For five months I’ve been groaning and travailing in pain, waiting for my foot to be fully restored. Not so long ago, I would have been pounding on God’s door demanding that he keep his promise to restore me. Thankfully, those days are over. I’ve learned that there are some things we have to wait for. Our challenge is not to lose our faith while we wait.

Psalm 27:14:
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

How long will we have to wait for Jesus to return? It could be as little as ten days, the same time as from the Ascension to Pentecost. It could be ten minutes or ten years, we don’t know. Until then, we have to wait on the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

I’m happy to say that my months of waiting have not just wasted away. I was able to complete the manuscript for the second edition of If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall. Jerelyn Pearson and Beatrice Mantock both helped me with thorough proofreading. I’m close to completion of another manuscript, The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ. I expect to see both books printed this year. That will be two more items I can cross off my list of things to do “while it is day.”

John 9:4:
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

In quoting this verse, I realize of course that I am not Jesus! But I do know the things I’m expected to accomplish for the Lord in my life. This knowledge is my blessing and my burden. In my heart I know I do not write books or go on missions because I want to but because I have to. That clarity helps me find the faith to accomplish the things I need to do.

I’ve rescheduled the mission to Tanzania for early August. I’ll be traveling with Evan Pyle and his daughter, Christine. I also intend to go to Kenya in late September for a mission with John Robert Opio of Uganda. God willing, I’ll be granted the grace to complete these works.

James 4:14–15:
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Special thanks for the people in my life who are helping me to endure this difficult season. My wife Nelly has been wonderful to me but that’s not anything new. Jay and Jerelyn Pearson not only lent me first a walking cane and then a wheelchair, but Jay built a ramp at my house to help me get in and out with more ease. Our church here in Baton Rouge has been very thoughtful as well. Special thanks to you who were aware of my situation and have kept me in your prayers.

Yes, sometimes we have to wait. But praise God we will not have to wait much longer!

Hebrews 10:36-37:
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.


The eV&B is now Tim's Blog.