What to do while waiting

In my previous post I talked about waiting on God. However, I realize that I may be presenting an incomplete picture. We do often wait on God, but we are not to be idle while we wait.

A common source of angst for Christians is the question “what is God’s will for my life?” This query, prayed fervently and often desperately, spins continuously in the minds of many. This is not necessarily a bad thing; we are to seek God and His ways and His will, so we should certainly care what that might be! But I’ve seen (and lived) the paralysis of that question. The lie that creeps in: “I’m waiting on God’s will for my life. I don’t want to screw anything up, so I’ll do nothing until I’m absolutely sure it’s God’s will.”

Aside from some obvious problems with the unnecessary clause “for my life”, it took me awhile to realize that this attitude is a thousand miles from anything resembling faith. Trust me, I’ve been there. I have often laughed inwardly at the fact that pretty much everything big God has done in my life is something I backed into. I simply wasn’t looking for it to happen the way it did – how could I have foreseen what God would do? I’m just not that smart. So why spend all my useful days in useless puzzle-work? God has called me to live, to run the race, and to focus on Him.

Someone wise once made this point: too many of us, as we walk along life’s path, expect to find GOD’S WILL wrapped up like a present, complete with our name on the tag. But, really, the path is God’s will.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus . . .

– Hebrews 12:1-2a (ESV)

Notice that Paul is not encouraging us to carefully sit idly by as we wait for detailed instructions from our Coach (the instructions that we have, in fact, demanded as a condition of our running). No, the command is far more straightforward: lay aside our sin and distractions and run like crazy toward Jesus.

So beware the wait if it’s really just a vacation from motion. For God will not, generally, lay out the plan for you all at once. At least He’s never done so for me. But that’s no excuse for standing still. There’s a reason the Christian life is compared to a race. We are to be running, and running to win.

So what do you do while you are waiting on God? Learn His ways, seek His face, learn to listen to His voice. And do whatever it is that He has put before you. You never know; the next seemingly uninspiring or uninteresting task or ministry that presents itself may be a gateway into a life you never dreamed of. One of my favorite quotes is by a secular author, but it carries with it a profound spiritual truth:

“Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.”

– P. J. O’Rourke

We all want to lead epic lives, but sometimes in that quest we miss that one life that just brushed past us that desperately needs some love and an encouraging word. As we pray for God’s mighty rain of revival to sweep us away we miss the fact that someone near us needs a cup of cold water. We want to love the whole earth and give ourselves to some mighty work, but we don’t love our neighbor (or even know his name). For it’s through the small things that come to us step by step on this path that God leads us toward the epic.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

– Luke 16:10 (ESV)

As you run, in obedience to the commands of God that you know well through reading HIs word, your motion and training will help prevent the other great sin we fall into: being so careful “waiting for God’s will” that even when He lays it out straight for us we’re too afraid to move.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him . . .

– Genesis 12:1-4a (ESV)

Because often times the next step God has for us may not be explained in as much detail as we would like. But as we grow more in love with Him and learn to hear His voice we’ll learn to obey even the steps that don’t make sense. So that when the command comes we, like Abraham, will simply go as the Lord has told us . . . because the Lord is really ahead of us, blazing the trail.

So while you and I are waiting to fly, we must continuously learn to run.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27

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