Patience is not a virtue that comes naturally to me. For a variety of reasons best left to my therapist and wife to contemplate, I’ve developed a very pronounced action orientation over my lifetime. I dislike procrastination intensely and try to live by the old adage “Don’t put off to tomorrow that which you can do today”.
The way that mindset is manifested in my life is through a constant scanning of the landscape to see what else can be achieved right now to ensure I am ideally positioned to take advantage of the imminent opportunities waiting to be revealed. Some of my favourite mantras include: Be proactive. Make stuff happen. Strike while the iron is hot. The early bird gets the worm. Don’t get caught off guard.One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples, just before they watched in wonder as He ascended into Heaven, was to do nothing. Just pray and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit before doing anything else. Click To Tweet
There’s only one problem with this lifestyle philosophy I have so carefully honed over the decades: it’s not very Biblical!
One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples, just before they watched in wonder as He ascended into Heaven, was to do nothing. Just pray and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit before doing anything else. No mission trips, no door knocking, no letterbox drops, no fund raisers, no street preaching, no evangelistic crusades. Just… wait.
How far would their ministry have progressed if they had launched out into the world without His help? They would never have made it out of Jerusalem, let alone to the “outermost parts of the world” (Acts 1:8).
This refrain is repeated throughout the Bible. Time and again we are advised, even commanded, to quietly wait on God.
If you’re at all like me, this is a lot more difficult to do than it may seem. I need a daily reminder to slow down, take a breath, trust God and wait on His timing.
One tool that I have found incredibly helpful is to take a few minutes in the quiet of the early morning to meditate on a number of passages that convey this life-changing principle.
Passages For Reflection
Why not spend some time right now quietly reflecting on a few of these passages? Maybe copy them into your device or highlight them in your Bible for easy access in the future. Name them and claim them!
“The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." (Exod. 14:14)
"Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." (Psa. 46:10)
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” (Psa. 130:5-6; cf. Ps.37)
“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.“ (Psa. 131:1-2)
“For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength." (Isa. 30:15)
“For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.” (Isa. 64:4)
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam. 3:22-26)
The next time you find yourself either frozen in fear and uncertainty, or blindly forging ahead in your own wisdom and strength (like me), just think of those confused disciples, sitting in that upper room wondering what to do after watching their Lord ascend into heaven.
What did they do? They waited and prayed. Then at the divinely appointed time, all power was unleashed from heaven in the form of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). Only then, once God filled them with all the wisdom, strength and courage they needed for His Great Commission, were they able to go out and change the world.
Jesus Is Coming Back
Jesus is coming back, soon. In the meantime, He asks that we be patient, wait and pray for His timing in all things. Let’s not get ahead of God’s sovereign plan for our lives. Just like a sailor caught in the eye of a hurricane, the safest place we can be in this chaotic world is waiting patiently for Him in the centre of His will. When He’s ready, when the lessons have been learned and the timing is right, He will calm the storm and direct our paths into safe harbours”
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isa. 26:3-4)
For further encouragement, listen to Stephen Curtis Chapman’s song “Be Still and Know”: