It seems like we just can’t help ourselves. Recently, I was attending a conference which was attended by church staff members. Christy and I sat at breakfast the morning after Trump had announced that he was going to meet with the Dictator of North Korea. The gentleman behind me, who also happened to sit at my table for the conference, gave us his immediate and prolonged opinion on this move.
As he opined to the group of unfortunate folks at his breakfast table, Christy and I spent a few minutes noting how pastors have a tendency to think that not only do they have an opinion about something, but they must all share that opinion. As children of pastors, and having served in pastoral roles for the past 15 years we realize that the blame for this behavior must be shared. The pastors, who are convinced that God has given them insight into crop planting, national security, and the correct way to discipline each individual child, are plentiful and obstreperous. Plentiful too are the members who want to shirk personal responsibility and seek to burden a pastor with a decision that he is unqualified to address due to lack of personal knowledge or limitations outside of his control.
I have spent some studying the need of Sabbath lately and have come to a conclusion: Our inability to wait is directly linked to our belief that we must always be in some type of production. Our culture, and yes, our desires, have convinced us that either we must be producing something or we must be planning to produce something. In fact, we have complete conversations in which we try to ‘out tire’ each other. This leads to constant sharing of opinions when we have given little thought, much less prayer, to the realities of the situations and opportunities which confront us in our lives.
This is one of Satan’s tools. You see, the enemy does not know the future. He only knows that right now, today, he has a chance for destruction and he wields that tool as forcefully as he can. God, however, knows the future, and encourages us to wait on him. He tells us that He will provide, while we scurry about like a chipmunk in November, hunting the few remaining nuts and then piling them around us as if they will prove to others that we are more resourceful than them.
To have an idea about the work of Satan we need only to look at Pharaoh of Egypt. When questioned as to whether or not he would allow the Israelites to stop work for a period of time to allow them to worship their God his response was that production must remain the same while their supplies would be drastically cut. The stipulation is clear; we must always produce more from less. Less information, more opinions. Less time, more perceived work or production.
Just a few days into the wilderness God beautifully contradicts the economy and behavior of Pharaoh. Every day but one, manna from heaven fell on the ground. On the 7th day manna did not fall and the Israelites were forced to eat from what they had gathered the day before. The truth is clear; God can, and does, pause. He waits.
I need to learn to wait. Words spoken in haste often lead to anger and foolishness. Opinions formed at the drop of a hat are based more in our pride than our knowledge and as such are sure ground for destruction and peril. In a sermon I made an observation that Satan works in the immediate. He cannot wait. When we surrender to the rush of immediacy in our relationships and our lives we surrender ourselves to our passions.
As you think about waiting take a moment and listen to this wonderful song. You won’t have to wait long to figure out what it’s about, or where it’s at.