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The Hardest Thing

Man waiting for the train to arrive in a railroad stationThe Holy Spirit guides and directs us with green, yellow, and red lights, step by step. But there is one thing the Holy Spirit directs us to do that is perhaps the hardest of all: to wait.

It is perhaps the hardest thing for us busy, can-do, “If-I-don’t-it-won’t” Americans to do. The complications we usher into our lives from ignoring this guidance from Holy Spirit could so easily be avoided and are oh so messy when we don’t. Just think of the problems that would have been avoided if Adam had said to Eve, “I know the fruit looks delicious, and maybe the serpent is right that we did hear God wrong, but why don’t we just wait and ask God?”

But I don’t like to wait. I’ve got to act now! Waiting means I might not get my way. They need to hear my concerns… my superior advice… my complaints… my corrections… my rebukes. I have to keep everybody straight. If I don’t act, this thing might get out of hand.

And I might not get my way.

How many decisions have you felt compelled to act on that, looking back, would have turned out so much better if you had just waited a while? How many comments have you made that were so utterly ineffective and unnecessary… and even destructive?

Our Father tells us, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). I want to know God. I want to go deep with my Father. Don’t you? So, I’m learning to be still and to wait. And as I do, it becomes so clear why my Father wants me to be still.

When I am still and wait on God, I always see his best. Not mine… his. When I wait on God and the guidance and power of his Spirit within me, the result is always superior to anything I could cause. Not sometimes, but always.

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 on my own impulse. Ignoring this spiritual rhythm of life creates complications, hurt feelings, confusion, and suffering.

Can you see it’s safe to wait if you live in a God-saturated world? It’s safe to wait if you see the Holy Spirit permeating your life. But if not, you must act and react quickly, and often forcefully, because it’s all up to you. If you live in a “you”-saturated world, you must be assertive, demanding, and quick to act in your own self-interest. You must straighten them out.

Ugh. That is the essence of the C-minus life.

One last thing for those of you thinking, “Sam, you’re just out of touch with reality. No one can operate in this world, running a business and a busy family, with this ‘wait’ approach.”

But this is not about waiting on God to do something for me. Instead, it’s about waiting on God to guide me. And yes, at times, waiting on the Holy Spirit to move ahead of me.

Of course, there will be times when acting quickly is necessary. At these times, we must trust God to guide us even as we act quickly. But, come on, we both know this is about five percent of the time. Our not waiting because we want to act quickly… to get our way… is the other 95 percent of the time.

Delight in him, and wait on the Holy Spirit to guide you. At times, wait for him to move and act ahead of you. Learn to be still. You’ll be amazed at how your Heavenly Father works and how many problems and hurts you will avoid.

About the author

Sam Hunter

Sam Hunter is the host of South Carolina’s Christian radio talk show, 721 Live, which helps people to apply the Bible to their everyday lives. He has produced two DVD curriculum series: Contentment: The Path to Peace and Fear: Do you React in Fear or Respond in Faith? In addition to speaking to men’s groups weekly as the director of 721 Ministries, Sam is invited frequently to speak to groups at churches, retreats, high schools, and colleges.