Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wait and Work

"Finding God's will" has never been my idea of a well-defined task. I seem to constantly drift toward one of two extremes: refusing to move for anything short of an audible voice from Heaven or taking the slightest inner twinge of interest as God's go-ahead signal. It must come from having a "student temperament" that loves learning on nearly any topic yet demands well-defined assignments before doing anything with that learning.

Christians who are surer of God's specific call on their lives often suffer a different problem: call it "crash and burn syndrome." Typically, it hits those who embark on a ministry with great promise; achieve one "great work" after another at first; then, when everyone least expects it, seem to drop overnight into severe depression, or, worse, sin. Usually, the warning signs were there, at least for the "victim"--loss of passion and interest; increasing discouragement and fatigue; and, worst of all, the gradual disappearance of time alone with God--but the active-motion life, the seeming urgency of keeping up with all that "needed" to be done "for God," had become so central to life that it eclipsed everything else. Even the need for paying direct attention to the God Whom all this was supposedly being done for.

I'm not the first to observe that our "work for God" often crowds out our love for Him. How would you feel about having a child who always chose "getting things done" over spending time with you, on the insistence that he only wanted to make you proud of him, to prove himself worthy of you? Wouldn't you say, "Sweetheart, you don't have to prove anything to me. I love you and just want to be with you"?

There's no question that God has tasks for us to do. But too few of us recognize the vital interrelation between doing His work and listening for His voice. 

God's good things come to those who wait--
Those trained in being still,
Who tune their minds to things of Christ,
And seek to learn His will.
God's good things come to those who work--
Those serving in His name,
Who seek His will above all else,
And feel the Spirit's flame.

To wait for God is still His work
When done with fervent prayer;
To work for God is still to wait,
As rush is never there.
To do His will as He commands--
To let Him set the pace--
Means work and rest are done for Him,
Each in its proper place.

Our Lord is never in a rush,
Nor is He ever late.
Our Father guides us step by step;
We work, and yet we wait.
Lord, let us never run ahead,
Nor drag our feet behind
The mission You have set for us,
Which through Your grace we find!

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