© 2013, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.
Haiti’s desert is the kind that makes you want to put on chap stick every three seconds. You want relief from the high heat and squint against the sun. Being caught in a hot wind makes a person frantic to find reprieve.
It’s easy to feel frantic when your quiet time dries up. You want relief. You almost get frantic to find something that “God wants you” to do. John Ortberg says, “But there was one thing he [Jesus] never experienced: He was never frantic. He never panicked. And in that moment I realized that God is never desperate” (If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat). Loose the feeling of being frantic for relief. God isn’t frantic. When the dryness begins, settle in, and see the growth instead.
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Thank you to the editor, Kristine Mulholland, for her time and dedication to an excellent site.
-Mollie Bond, Sept. 2011
Who likes to wait? I mean, just sit around, pick our noses, been here all day, kind of wait. I picture people waiting for an airplane. Usually they wait in the terminal, or wait in a line. Waiting. Doing nothing, just waiting. In fact, different kinds of lines restrain us in different types of waiting. Check out this oxymoron: if you hold a first-class ticket, you have a “no wait” line you wait in. There’s a different zigzagging line for people who have a coach ticket where you wait too. After that wait to get to the ticketing counter, and off to wait again. Even if you hold the first-class ticket, you have to wait in line at security. Might as well finish this article while you stand in that line, so keep reading.
Here’s the neat thing about waiting. God doesn’t expect us to sit around and wait. That’s correct! No more waiting! No tickets. No lines. But before you rush to the front of the line at security, dial in and focus. This will be better than getting two seats to yourself on the plane.
Waiting, like the kind of waiting God refers to, is not a passive wait. He proactively waits, and asks us to do the same. What’s the difference between passively waiting and proactively waiting? Those that passively wait expect their desires to fall into their laps. They sit. In the Bible Jonah just told the Ninevites to trade in their bad habits for God’s salvation, otherwise God would cream the city. “Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city” (Jonah 4:5). Jonah sat. He waited. And then he whined to God about how long he was waiting for something he desired. Jonah might have looked like a child who just couldn’t wait for the plane for one more second and starts to whine and cry and complain. People who passively wait become whiners.
On the other hand those that proactively wait plan while they wait; just like our Father who works according to “his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2b). He’s not sitting around, waiting for His desires to drop into His lap. He’s binding things together, building, twisting our lives with other people and waiting for the perfect moment to fulfill His plan for us.
The Hebrew language has several different words for waiting. Psalms 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” The “wait” in this verse means, “to bind together (by twisting)” in Hebrew. This would be like twisting material into a tapestry. Building something beautiful and useful. It takes time and work, but it is worth the wait for the outcome of the final piece. It is not passive, and results in non-whiners.
Another type of waiting is found in Ps. 37:7a, which says, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him….” This “wait” denotes whirling. It is a different word from Psalms 27, but still translated as “wait” in English. Interesting that both words lead us to think about spinning and creating. God’s proactive waiting takes work, time, and creativity.
So what are you waiting on? Don’t wait for it passively. That’s not waiting like God asks us to. Instead, proactively wait by praying and letting God know you do not want to sit and wait. Tell Him you will spin, twist, build, bind together, whirl, and create while you wait.
Maybe the salvation of someone else reminds you of Ninevites. They seek after things far from the truth, and you cannot wait for God to get a hold of their heart. Instead of sitting and passively waiting, be proactively waiting. Pray for them. Be their warm, loving friend who always has time on their hands to listen. Do not sit and passively wait for God to do something. Text encouragement to them while you wait for the plane. Because you know what? You are just waiting anyway.