Due to slow progress of a project and conspiring circumstances, a little while ago I found myself exercising the discipline of waiting. I was waiting for a particular person to process something in order for me to move forward.
During my morning time of prayer, I was telling the Lord how frustrated I felt about the whole process. It was entirely out of my hands. There was nothing I could do. I was at the mercy of others. I felt so powerless.
The bible is full of verses that talk about waiting. Here is one:
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” – Psalm 27:14
In my case I was waiting for one person to do something and I could not move forward until that person acted. Although it was a human who had to act, I was trying my level best to keep my eyes on the Lord and take courage from Him. I wasn’t really succeeding because I was still frustrated.
While pouring out my sense of powerlessness to the Lord in prayer, a quiet thought penetrated my frustration:
“This is how the poor and destitute feel.”
At first, I was surprised that this thought popped into my mind but then I realized that God was at work. He has this way of helping us take our eyes off ourselves and placing them on others. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how accurate the thought was. Those that live in the kind of extreme poverty I encounter every day in Southern Africa are at the mercy of others. There is nothing they can do but wait for somebody to respond to their need. The frustration of things being completely out of their control and fully in the control of those who have what they need must be overwhelming. I know how frustrated I was at that one small thing in my life. How difficult it must be to daily live with the hope that somebody will take notice, that somebody will respond.
As these thoughts ran through my mind and my heart, I happened to read this scripture during my daily devotional.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”-
when you already have it with you. – Proverbs 3:27+28
As a result of this incident, I have asked the Lord to show me areas in my life where I am unnecessarily making others wait. Whatever it may be:
- an outstanding task
- an opportunity to give and thereby bring peace to somebody
- reassurance or validation
Whatever it may be, I would like to not make people wait unnecessarily when it is in my power to act.
So here’s my challenge to you – would you join me?
Would you take a moment today to think and ask the Lord about an area where you can act and by that act bring peace of mind and hope to the life of somebody else? Let us not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in our power to act.
What are you waiting for?