Waiting on God

There is a story about a man who was driving around a conference center in a large city trying to find a parking spot.

Getting Back Home Was The Problem

Waiting, especially waiting in line, may be one of the most frustrating situations we encounter. This week Cindy and I went to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, for a four-day mini-vacation. Also known as Rocky Point, the city sits at the northern point of the Sea of Cortez and is only 62 miles south of the U.S./Mexico border. We try to schedule our trips so that we avoid long waits at the border coming back into the United States.

Negative-Edge Pool in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.
Negative-Edge Pool in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

What was our travel experience this week? Great going down. Not so great coming back.

Many people travel to Puerto Peñasco from Arizona, especially college kids during Spring Break in early March. We avoided the early part of March as a result, preferring to take the four-hour drive on Monday the 18th with a return date scheduled for Thursday the 21st. Yet when we approached the border on our return trip there was a very long line of cars, longer than we had ever seen.  The weather had been wonderful and many other people had also gone on their own mini-vacations.

After about 45 minutes of snail-pace movement, a Mexican police car passed us on the right side of the road. Following him, surprisingly, were dozens of cars that had originally been behind us. Most had United States license plates on them. They streamed by for many minutes until there were now two lines approaching the border. We realized our wait time had just doubled from that point forward. After about 2 hours of sitting in our car, we finally made it to the border.

Waiting is no fun! Especially if you have an appointment to get to. We did, as Thursday evening is when we facilitate our GriefShare group, a support group for those who have lost a loved one.  We made it on-time, thankful to God for that.

The Miraculous Parking Spot

There is a story about a man who was driving around a conference center in a large city trying to find a parking spot. He was scheduled to speak to a large audience and feared he would now be late. So he prayed to God saying “Dear God, if you help me find a spot quickly, I promise You I’ll read the Bible every morning and do my very best to attend church regularly!” Right after finishing his prayer, he noticed a car miraculously pulling out of a spot just ahead. “Never mind, God,’ he quickly said, ‘I found one…”

Even though God knows that waiting is not our favorite activity, and knows that patience is often not our key strength, He asks us to wait. But more specifically, He asks us to wait for Him, to experience His presence in our lives, to watch how He will work in situations that we find difficult.

One of our favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 46:10:

“Be still and know that I am God.” It is also translated as “cease striving”.

A Difficult Decision

One year ago, Cindy and I were in a very difficult position. We didn’t know which way to go. Our thirty-year-old son had gotten himself into a situation that was potentially life-threatening to him or others. We prayed and sought advice from the most respected sources we knew of. Yet everyone we spoke with gave us remarkably different courses of action to take. It was as bewildering as a winding road.

Winding Road in Colorado

There are three criteria that we look at when making a major decision:

  1. Is it biblical? Does it violate God’s commandments or conform to them?
  2. Do we feel a certain peace from God’s Holy Spirit within us that the specific choice is correct?
  3. What are the circumstances surrounding the decision? Do they tend to point to one decision being right, or in contrast does a door seem to close on any particular choice?

We heard many choices that fit the first criteria. But there was only one choice which fit all three criteria. That choice was to place our trust fully in God to work out the situation in His way and in His time. It was specifically for us to wait on God. In looking back, I can imagine God smiling at that point and saying “Now that you have stopped your anxious worrying, now that you have decided that I have the power and that I love you, please sit back and watch what I can do.”

Within days of our making the active choice to wait on the Lord, He moved in ways that were astounding to us! The situation was diffused, our son was safe and our faith in God was further strengthened. Thank you Lord!

Choosing To Wait Can Be Rewarding

The key point here is that waiting on God is an active choice. It isn’t at all like throwing up our hands in despair and doing nothing. It is intentionally placing our trust in the One who is able to do all things. It is faith in action. We learned a very important lesson that we will seek to always remember.

Yes, there are times that we are to take action with His leading and prompting. But also, there are times in which acting in desperation, without His guidance, will only serve to make matters worse. Sometimes, we just need to get out of God’s way and allow Him to act.

Your comments and thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Photography by John J O’Leary