Activities and events in the USA are organized, scheduled, and carried out in a systematic way. So when we come to India we assume the same is true. It doesn’t take long to realize that isn’t the case at all. In fact, confusion, last-minute changes, delays, cancellations and interruptions can be counted on. This is true of our daily life, our travel and our conferences. You wouldn’t believe the things that happen!
Yesterday we arrived 2 hours late (traffic) for yesterday’s conference, but there were only 6 people there. We still waited another hour to start. Picture a large, empty concrete room with a concrete mixer constantly grinding in one corner (making concrete for upstairs construction). 30 children yelled and played in another corner. The smoke and dust was so thick we could barely see the other end of the room. Eventually 25 people arrived, but they talked on their phones or to each other and walked around during the sessions. They weren’t responsive during the sessions. And the toilets were virtually unusable. It all made us less than excited for today.
We arrived on time and started an hour later today. The children were there but no construction. The smoke and dust was present but today 125 people came! Evidently the ones who were here went home and told others who came! They were still a bit unruly (in the USA we’d call it rude) but that is just they way it is this area so we adjusted. We had an overwhelmingly positive response at the end.
It’s not like we haven’t had experience at adjusting to these things. We meet the people where they are and do our best to minister to them in any way we can. It takes patience and flexibility, a combination of uncomplaining waiting but always being ready to move ahead when possible. It can be a tricky balance to maintain.
God wants us to patiently wait for Him, but stay ready for action. “Stand still” He commands. We aren’t to sit or lay down, but to stand. We aren’t to run ahead on our own. Or to quit. Or try to find our own way. We are to stand, but stand still. We are to be upright, ready for action, anticipating coming directions and patiently awaiting God’s guidance. Soon He will say, like He did to Moses, “Go forward.”
What a hard balance that is to maintain! We either rush ahead full speed almost as if we can handle life ourselves, or we quit and stop trying. It must be so frustrating to God. As parents we can understand the exasperation of dealing with children who always go from one extreme to the other. Our Heavenly Father feels the same thing. I hope I’m not the cause. I hope you aren’t, either. (January 30, 2019 Kurnool, India)
Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
I Samuel 12:16 “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!
Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord.”
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.
Do you find yourself impatiently rushing ahead of God? Or are you more characterized by dragging your feet? What can you do to avoid these extremes but just stand still and wait for His guidance?
Christian Training Organization