When you approach an intersection with the traffic light turning yellow, are you a goer or a slower? You know what I mean. Some of us, of course not me, charge ahead to get through to the other side. Others slow down, and often stop prematurely. (I don’t like these people)
The Holy Spirit guides and directs us step by step with green and red lights, and even yellow caution lights. When we ignore him and charge ahead, we deserve the C- lives we get.
At times the Holy Spirit advises us to slow down … to wait. Whether you are a goer or a slower behind the wheel, my guess is you don’t like to wait on God. The weight of wait can seem like a heavy burden.
It is perhaps the hardest thing for us busy, can-do, “If I don’t, it won’t,” Americans to do. As when two goers try to time the light and end up crashing into each other, the complications we usher into our lives by ignoring this Holy Spirit caution can be so messy, and yet so easily avoidable.
Think of the collapse that would have been avoided if Adam had said to Eve, “I know the fruit looks delicious, and maybe, like the serpent says, God is deceiving us. But why don’t we just wait and ask God? Is there any reason why we can’t just wait before acting?”
But I don’t like to wait. I don’t like to wait to act, and I don’t like to wait to express my opinion. Waiting means I might not get my way. “Don’t you see they need my advice? I’ve got to keep everybody straight. If I don’t act, I might not get my way.”
How many decisions have you felt compelled to act on when it would have been so much better if you had just waited a while? How many comments have you made that were so utterly ineffective, and unnecessary, and counterproductive – even destructive?
Ignoring this rhythm of the Holy Spirit life within you creates complications, hurt feelings, confusion and suffering. But waiting on the Holy Spirit to guide you can engender a sense of clarity and harmony.
This is not about waiting on God to do for me; it is about waiting on God to guide me.
When I wait on God I always see his best. Waiting on the Spirit’s guidance brings me closer to my Lord … every time. I get to see his movement. I get to see his power at work. None of which are possible when I am acting and reacting in my own power. When I am doing this, all I get to see is me, and my power.
Ugh. I’ve seen enough of that.
Jesus reinforces this truth with this observation: “the pagans charge ahead after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But … wait … and seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:32-33 paraphrased)
Notice Jesus didn’t say, “The horrible sinners charge ahead after these things.” Pagans are those who don’t know God, so why would they wait on him? They are scurrying. They are hurrying. They are acting and reacting. They are … you?
Because you live in a God-saturated world, it is safe to wait. It’s safe to wait, when you see the Holy Spirit permeating your life. Will you, can you, throw off the weight of wait and learn to live freely and lightly, by following the Holy Spirit within you?