Monday, August 3, 2009

To Wait or To Act

If you used to read my other blog, you know I've thought and read a lot about waiting. Waiting for something you want. Waiting to fulfill your dreams. Waiting upon the Lord. Especially in today's fast-paced world, it's a hard thing to do. Even figuring out how to do it can be difficult, which seems a bit odd. After all, waiting means doing nothing, right? Just...waiting.

Well, sometimes. Sometimes not.

Yesterday's sermon at my church really hit home on this topic. Our assistant pastor, Eric, preached from I Samuel 13 and 14. Saul, the king of Israel, is leading a battle against the Philistines and has been told to wait for the prophet Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice before taking any action. So in this case, waiting means just that--do nothing.

But Samuel doesn't show up. Saul fidgets, he worries. They're squeezed on either side and outnumbered by the enemy, and his troops are deserting. He wonders what he should do. Finally, he decides that he has to do something. He's the king of Israel. He can't just sit there. So he offers the sacrifice, himself.

It's a big mistake. Samuel does show up, and tells him that because of his disobedience, God will not establish his dynasty, but will allow Saul's throne to pass to someone else.

In the meantime, Saul's son, Jonathan, has also been chafing at doing nothing, but his attitude is different. “'Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,' Jonathan said to his armor bearer. 'Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!'”

Jonathan doesn't so much want to take control. He wants to see what the Lord wants to do. He's willing to take a few steps and see if the Lord tells him to stop or go further. Once they're close to the Philistines, he tells the men who have gone with him that he's going to call out to the enemy soldiers. If the soldiers goad them to come up and fight, he will know that God wants them to proceed and will give them the victory. If not, he'll know he's acting in his own power and should stop.

The Philistines challenge him to come up, they proceed, and God gives them a victory in an amazing way--something they could not have done themselves.

I needed to hear this message right about now. I know I'm feeling weak and discouraged because I'm trying to take control. The voices all around me tell me to act, plan, work, accomplish. I'm floundering around in my own strength, and I've got the stress and jangled nerves to show for it, but not much else.

As Pastor Eric said, sometimes God wants us to just rest. Sometimes he wants us to put ourselves in position, so he can use us if he wants to.

My thought is that he wants us to take just a few steps, rest, and ask again.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Robin, great post! Reminds me of the song based on Isaiah 40:31: "those who wait upon the Lord,shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."