Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7
The fourth and final ingredient in the MY TIE attitude is to “Be still before the Lord and wait for himim.” This ingredient is perhaps the hardest one for me to surrender to God. When I was an energetic 20-something, being still and / or waiting on the Lord seemed to be highly counterproductive. After all, Jesus commanded us to “Go and make disciples of all nations." Furthermore, I have seen people abuse this verse in order to spiritualize or validate their lack of taking action. These people will delay decision making, defer an issue to a later time, or diminish the work of other people all in the attitude of "waiting on the Lord." In reflection the only thing I found more irritating was being told, “Take a chill pill.” In hindsight, I probably needed a continuous supply.
So how did God teach me to be still and wait patiently for Him?
While I was recovering from an illness in my late 20’s, the first part of Psalms 37:7 began to speak to me in a different way. In the context, David probably wanted to engage his enemies. After all he was a fighter who slayed a bear, lion, and a famous giant. At the very least he wanted God to set right the injustices perpetrated against him. For the first time when reading this passage I discovered that David had already done all he could do in trusting, taking delight and committing his way to the Lord, so all that was left for him to do was to wait for God to act.
In my life’s context, I had to slow down in order to do my best to make a recovery. Ultimately, I was hoping to resume my calling in full-time ministry as a pastor. By far this was the most frustrating time in my life. During these two years of recovery, I began to realize that my best efforts and energy was far from my personal best prior to becoming ill. My thinking was slower. My energy was lower. My personal standards for handling the rigors of work, study, and life had fallen well below my expectation. I felt angry at life and God. I would often ask myself, “Why would a loving God allow someone like me who made the most of every opportunity to grow a strong skill-set for serving Him go through such a life altering setback?”
What I began to learn was that there are opportunities to experience of what it means to be still and wait on God when recovering from life’s hardships. For the first time in my life I could reflect and meditate on God’s Word. After all, I was thinking slower. The phrase, “Do my Best and Let God Bless the Rest” began to fill my thoughts and turn my heart towards God. I began to be encouraged that I did everything possible to gain as much knowledge, experience, and wisdom from many mentors prior to my illness. I did my best and now it was time for God to bless the rest at His choosing.
God reminded me that every class and experience that I previously pursued with all my passion was not wasted. This motivated me to study the Bible in a new living light. I re-read my Bible college and seminary class notes, papers, and textbooks. This time, I studied in full faith that God would help me use the sum of my life up to this particular point. Only then I had the courage to gain new skills, and set a new pace and standard for life and ministry. I began to trust, delight, and commit my life to God all over again.
15 years have passed since this dark time. I have come to embrace that my best fluctuates from day to day. Being at my best depends on many factors. However, I have grown to understand that there is only one factor that matters. Being at my daily best means nothing unless I trust, commit, and take delight that God will use it. Never has a day been regrettable when I have done my best and let God bless the rest. Therefore, I now passionately challenge everyone to quit trying to be the best but “Do your best and let God bless the rest.” Only then can anyone maximize their benefit from being still and waiting for God to act.