Sometimes, doing nothing is the hardest thing of all. Derek Prince once said, “Ask a man to climb a mountain and he’s off before you finish talking. Ask him to wait at the foot of it and he can’t be found.” We hate to wait. We “die” if the line next to us moves faster. Let’s get on with it! Have you noticed, though, that waiting is not a small theme in scripture? Maybe we need to slow down and let the Lord catch up with us…
Sometimes the thing we absolutely have to do in order to see God move, is bring ourselves to a full stop. That can be the greatest challenge of all, especially if you are an inveterate people-pleaser, a general all around do-gooder, or a borderline workaholic. We know from repeated firsthand experience that prayer, effort and energy solve most of our daily problems. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Not all of our problems bend to our will. Some are more stubborn than we are!
When Doing Nothing Is Done
The “trick” is recognizing which ones God is asking you to leave to Him. They are not all of one piece. Sometimes you have an idea what to do, but He wants you to wait for the right moment to act. Sometimes you won’t have a clue what to do, until the moment comes when He drops it into you. Then you’re to pounce on it. At other times He doesn’t want you to do a blessed thing. Oh, that will kill you for sure!
But why should doing nothing be so hard? Isaiah saw it as an incredible blessing: “For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 66:4). Or, think of Moses at the Red Sea: “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord… The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13). And then there’s Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Convinced? Here is the mega-incentive: your joy and peace of mind, as well as outstanding results (from God) depend upon being able to practice this. When it’s called for. Hannah Whitall Smith in “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” wrote that “When we wait, God works.” She was in ministry with a philandering husband. Maybe she knows a little about this. Maybe she had to learn it the hard way same as you and me.
The leading idea is that once we get what is in our heart, out of our heart and into God’s Hands, He can go to work on it. God won’t take it up, until we freely and fully give it to Him. He is waiting while we are working, waiting for His turn to go to work. The trailing idea is that God isn’t sitting on His Hands in the meantime. Oh, no. He will actually use the situation that we aren’t giving to Him, to “work on us” until we let it go!
Now which would you rather have? God working on you, letting all the weight of the problem rest on your shoulders because you are still clinging to it (in fear either that He won’t do anything, or that He will do something you don’t want Him to). Or, you entering His rest, while He goes to work on what you have committed to Him?
For more on how to negotiate this tricky area of discernment see “Praying Through to Peace” at our website for healing, HealingStreamsUSA.org.