Waiting vs. Working

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” — Ps 27:14

It is no wonder the Psalmist admonished us to be strong and take heart – waiting on the Lord is some of the hardest work we are asked to do. In this age of busyness and living in a country of opportunity, we have been taught that “the early bird gets the worm,” and the industrious person enjoys financial security/renown. We live in a culture that practically demands we “seize the day,” and accuses us of laziness if we do not work. Even King Solomon addressed the importance of a diligent work ethic.

So how do we combine the admonition to wait on the Lord with the admonition to be diligent in our work?

The starting point for believers is always the cross of Christ. The cross is God’s demonstration of power – resurrection power – in lives that would otherwise be mundane and meaningless, if all we had was whatever we could achieve in this life. So, if Paul says that the cross of Christ can be emptied of its power through human wisdom (1 Cor 1:17), we really need to know where we are guilty of following our own plans and ideas, rather than seeking the wisdom and direction of the Lord, so that His power can manifest.

The mistake many of us make is not asking God. Whatever seems right to us is so obvious, why would we even bother God by asking – ESPECIALLY when it lines up with scripture? The sad reality is that this approach always ends up in exercising human wisdom, as it neglects that Jesus IS Wisdom (1 Cor 1:30). He is our 24/7 Source of wisdom for every situation and every decision. There is no one better at deciphering personal application of scripture as He knows us better than we know ourselves.

Perhaps many of us don’t ask because it demands a tough decision: do I want to continue to be in charge of my life, or am I willing to let Jesus take the steering wheel? Most Christ-followers know the correct choice. But allowing Jesus to be in charge can lead to a host of other frustrations. What if Jesus’ plan doesn’t line up with my plan? What if He wants me to do something I don’t want to do? What if Jesus’ method is so contrary to acceptable norms that I’m seen as foolish, radical, or out-of-touch with reality? What if His timeframe is not in sync with the opportunity standing right in front of me? What if Jesus says “Wait.”?

In actuality, “waiting” is such difficult work, it cannot be accomplished minus the resurrection power of Christ. But for all who would dare to embrace the fact that Jesus IS Wisdom and would not ask us to wait unless it was best, the benefit is supernatural ordering of our lives from and smallest detail to the most monumental task. His power is not only manifested in the “waiting,” but accomplishes the incredible work that follows the wait.