It’s like walking down an avenue of corn. This time of year, our country road is lined on both sides by tasseled stalks towering eight feet as they reach for the sun, creating a beautiful tunnel for my evening walks.
Walking is my chosen posture for thinking and praying. Something about moving along helps unlock thoughts, concerns, ideas stored away throughout the day. The trek is never very long, but for a good 20 minutes, it’s just me and whatever’s going on in my brain.
As I walk, I’ve been thinking about that corn.
I let go recently of a responsibility that’s been dear to my heart because I felt God was telling me to free myself up. For what, I have no idea. I just know that I’m in a “waiting” mode.
Kind of like the corn.
A few short months ago, seed was drilled into the soil, and after a season of rain and sunshine, what stands in place are towering green stalks with ears of corn. The crop looks ready to pick, but the growing hasn’t stopped. Kernels are filling the ears, hidden behind green husks now turning brown. In a short month, when the time is right, the corn will be picked, hauled to the mill and ground up for feed — fulfilling its intended purpose.
You don’t have to be a farmer to know that growing anything worthwhile takes time. And patience. Whether it’s a child, a business, a relationship or corn, there’s nothing instant about it.
The life of Christ gives us the perfect example of patience. For 30 years, Jesus knew what he was created to do. He understood from the time he was a child that there was a call on his life. But he waited.
“The right time for me has not yet come,” he said to his brothers (John 7:6) when they pushed him to perform. “For you any time is right.”
In her devotional “Whispers of Hope”, author and teacher Beth Moore reminds us that Christ lived for one purpose: to do the will of the Father. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, it should be the same for us.
“If our heart’s desire is the will of God, we will wait for His timing even when the pause is long and uncomfortable. We will gain nothing by running ahead of God.”
She points out that if we believe God knows what is best for us, shouldn’t we also believe that He knows when is best for us?
Does waiting mean standing still? I wonder, is there anything to be done while waiting for “when”? Even as he waited for the right time, Christ was about the Father’s work. He gathered around him a support team and he did the work laid before him in each day of his waiting.
I believe God honors “active waiting.” In addition to praying and staying in the Word while we wait, could it be that God is also calling us to make some moves on our own? I think there are a few things I can do to move from passive to active waiting:
- Take a personal assessment and drop any unhealthy habits (physical, spiritual or emotional) that may be keeping me from hearing God’s voice. And I can replace them with new, healthy ones.
- Find a place to interact with positive, affirming people — church, a small group, a volunteer responsibility.
- Let go of a commitment that is unnecessarily consuming time, energy, resources. I’ve asked myself, “Am I the only one who can do this thing?” If not, maybe it’s really someone else’s job.
- Sit down with a trusted friend and make a list of all my interests, passions, talents and look for a common theme.
- Read worthwhile books, articles, essays and, yes, even blogs. God uses everything — He’s the God of perfect economy. He wastes nothing and He can speak through everything.
- Do something positive for someone else. It’s amazing how an attitude of impatience and despair can be changed when I take the focus off myself and share God’s love with others.
While we’re waiting and praying, we can do so with expectancy and we can pray believing the answers will come, thanking God NOW for this time of waiting, and for the answers He is preparing — even while we wait. We aren’t called to move ahead of God, but we can be fruitful in our time of waiting. Call it exercising our muscles so that we are fit and available when God says “Go and do!”