Probably one of the most difficult commands we get from God is that dreaded four letter word…
W. A. I. T.
If you’re like me, you know it’s easy to make a plan, map it out and quickly want to ‘get on with the program,’ but the Lord frequently says, ‘Sit tight, and be still.’ Once we can come to terms with the idea of putting our plans on hold to begin with, we still have the tendency to turn over a mental hourglass and settle into any number of activities to pass the time till God moves. But, when the amount of time we think is reasonable has expired, a general uneasiness often sets in. As days and weeks stretch into months and years, the temptation to ignore or doubt God’s instructions intensifies.
But if we choose to move ahead with our own plans, we end up making the same mistake as King Saul. Perhaps you remember the story from 1 Samuel 13:7-15. With a threatening battle heating up and his men deserting him, Saul waited as long as he thought was reasonably possible, then took matters into his own hands and offered the sacrifice to God himself instead of waiting for the prophet as he was instructed. When Samuel showed up, Saul attempted to rationalize his decision by saying, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
I saw. I thought. I felt.
How many times have we also used the same rationalizations to justify actions that we know are not in keeping with what God has already said?! These emotional responses in the heat of a critical moment of decision can be just as disastrous to us as they were to King Saul, which ultimately lead to his complete downfall.
I can’t help but wonder if King David remembered what happened to his predecessor when he wrote Psalm 27:14, which says “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” In those moments when we’re tempted to make rash moves, his words encourage us to be resolute and fortify our unsure hearts with courage. I know, it seems a little weird to think about needing strength to ‘not do anything,’ but being told to wait touches one of our most basic fears…
… the fear of being out of control.
When God says “Wait”, it puts Him in control, not us. It becomes His plan and not ours. His outcome and not always the one we want. And that’s the reason we need courage and strength. It’s fearful to have to fully trust your future to someone other than yourself, even if that Someone is God. See, at its core, waiting is not so much about the thing we’re waiting for as it is our willingness to yield to the Lord.
It’s a good old-fashioned test of faith.
Will we trust Him when we want to trust ourselves more?
Can we be certain that He will come through even though our preset deadline has long passed?
Will we really believe that He’s orchestrating the best possible plan for us and that He’s reliable to do the things He’s promised?
And yes, choosing to trust when there’s no evidence that anything is happening takes a lot of inner stamina.
So when you’ve been put on pause, put away your personal timetables. Instead begin to pray for the strength and courage you will need to trust the Lord
… and wait.