Moments ago the silhouette of a man had rested against the brilliant blue backdrop.
Now there was only blue sky.
Matthew stared at the sky. A breeze was pushing a few small clouds into his field of vision. The breeze cooled his face, and he tilted his head even higher to enjoy every second of it.
Jesus was gone.
Jesus was really, really gone this time.
The reality settled on him, and he choked on the air trying to fill his lungs. What were they going to do now? Judging by all the soft gasps around him, the realization was hitting the others, too.
Twenty-two eyes swung the direction of the voice. Two angelic men stood a few feet away dressed in glorious white robes.
The slightly taller man smiled. "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?"
Were they supposed to answer that?
The second man spoke up then. "This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."
What did that even mean? What were they supposed to do? Wait, like Jesus had said? Matthew glanced back at the blue sky. How were they supposed to pursue that?
Based on Acts 1:9-11
"And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'" Acts 1:9-11
What would you have done?
Jesus had told them not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them. But they had literally just watched Jesus rise into Heaven, and now he was gone. I just imagine each of the disciples thinking, "Umm...what are we really supposed to do now?" They must have really and truly felt alone. I don't know about you, but I would have been freaking out.
Talk about being in limbo.
Transitional periods are the pits. You're simultaneously spinning, turning, flipping, and trying to figure out which way is up.
They key to making it through these seasons with your stomach intact rests in what the angels said to the disciples.
"Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."
That doesn't seem like much... They didn't tell the disciples what to do next, but they didn't need to because Jesus had already told them what was coming next. The angels were saying the next step wouldn't be found looking backwards. With Jesus gone, their next step was to await the Holy Spirit and receive further instructions.
Do you guys feel like you're in limbo? Are you trying to figure out what comes next for you in your walk with God? The answers won't be found staying where you are, staring into the sky. Looking backwards is the easy thing to do, but it never leads you where you need to go: forward. The disciples locked themselves into a room and prayerfully pursued the Holy Spirit until He arrived (Acts 1:12-2:4).
The cure to being in limbo is prayerfully pursuing the next step - no matter how vague - instead of looking backwards.
V. Joy Palmer