There is a time to wait and a time to take action. That statement sounds like it belongs in Ecclesiastes 3, right? The chapter starts with “There is a time for everything a season for every activity under heaven”, then goes into specific seasons. “A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest”, and so on (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Waiting is an interesting topic. It takes much discernment and wisdom to know when to wait and when not to. When we should wait and don’t, we are considered impatient. When we should take action and don’t, we are thought to have negative attributes such as laziness or indifference.
Here are a few suggestions as to when it is appropriate to wait and when we should take action. Let’s start with simply waiting on God (Psalm 46:10). This is a matter of trust. Are we trusting God and His plans for us or are we taking matters into our own hands? This can be hard to describe, but I think we often know when we are not waiting on God. We don’t pray about matters but we simply take them into our own hands. We get in a hurry to see things happen, like to get to a better place in our lives. We also need to wait and be patient with others. This can be a tough one, because there are times we need to prod others on and hold them accountable. But, often we are demanding of them. If we find ourselves holding others to higher standards than we want for ourselves then we need to practice patience. The third example is our approach toward tasks and projects we need to accomplish. A just get’r done approach doesn’t always serve us well. Especially when we find ourselves taking shortcuts to complete a task.
Now, here are a few suggestions as to when we should take action as opposed to waiting. Let’s start with asking for and giving forgiveness. Be quick to admit when we are wrong, especially in our relationship with God. Then we need to give forgiveness freely, but not recklessly. If we say we forgive, we need to mean it. Another time to not sit back and wait is when others are in need. When we know of a need and feel God’s prodding, then we need to follow through with it. I know we are reluctant at times because we are trying to discern whether or not it’s a legitimate need, but God honors our obedience. Then finally, we need to take action in matters of salvation. When God gives us an open door to share the Gospel, we should walk through it without hesitation. Let people know that Jesus is the Way. It really is a matter of life and death – eternal life and death.
The waiting game isn’t as simple as we might first think. Waiting is good and right in certain situations, but is not always the best approach. In general, we need to check our motives. We need to determine if we are taking the easy way or refusing to deal with difficult issues. If so, then maybe we need to reconsider our approach regardless of whether we are waiting or taking action. Take it to the Lord in prayer and follow peace. His way is always the best way.