Beware of False Starts
I’m really not a sports girl. Not that I have anything against sports but they never were my thing. With that said, I must add that it’s not that I don’t understand the general rules of most sports, I’m just not into them. When in prayer one day God told me to “beware false starts” and seeing as how sports aren’t necessarily my language, I was intrigued.
I know that term “false start” could mean any number of things, but to me, it meant the shrill screech of a whistle, a yellow flag on the field, and the undeniable reverb of a referee over the loudspeakers. It was the picture of a player so amped up and tense with anticipation that he misinterprets his surroundings and instead of taking ground he loses it. I might not love football but I do understand that headspace.
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
- Psalms 27:14 NLT
Many times, waiting on the Lord takes more patience and courage than action and movement do. Often we find ourselves in a place of tension, a place of anticipation where every muscle in our body or fiber of our soul is raring to go. It's in these seasons where waiting is less “rest and rejuvenation” and more “long-suffering and endurance”.
Frequently people in the church have told me that it's easy to hand over their burdens to Christ, it's the leaving them there that causes the issue. I can totally relate; I have struggled with this myself. Even after we see Jesus come through for us in miraculous ways, even after He parts seas and slays giants, the tension of waiting for His next move can be crippling. It can be so easy to start moving before He does, if only just a little bit to try to get the ball rolling.
This isn’t a concept unique to our day and age, the ancient followers of God struggled here as well and bore lifelong consequences because of their impatience. Take Saul in 1 Samuel 13:7-14 for example, Samuel told him to wait, and while he started out well he grew impatient. He began to let the things that he saw (i.e. his troops slipping away) influence him and took matters into his own hands. In doing so, he lost his kingdom into the hand of another. He let what was going on around him trump that voice of God and ended up losing the very thing that he was trying to hold on to.
There's a reason that the psalmist said to be brave and courageous while waiting. Waiting can be terrifying as we watch the imminent disaster creep (or barrel) closer and closer. It's times like those when waiting takes more faith than acting does. Waiting is scary and waiting is stretching and waiting is where we grow! If we don't wait and keep taking things into our own hands then how do we see God come through? How do we know that He is good, that He is for us?
“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
- Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
I think Isaish 40:31 has got to be in the top ten most popular Bible verses. I have nothing against popular verses but sometimes when things become so familiar we miss the gravity of what they say. This is a beautiful promise, but it is a promise to those who wait on the Lord! There is a prerequisite here that we don’t talk about. Why does one’s strength need to be renewed? Because they have exhausted it!
We need to stop running ahead of our God and stay in pace with Him, even when we don’t understand and even when we don’t agree. We serve a God that is never late, but He misses plenty of opportunities to be early. When we take matters into our own hands and act outside of His will and direction, even when it’s for a “good" thing we are placing our faith in ourselves instead of Him. Are you a follower? Then you must learn to become a waiter as well.
Waiting can be exhausting and that’s okay. If you don’t come to the end of yourself then you will continue to proceed forward in your own strength. It’s time that we feel the weight of the waiting and not bailout in the face of it because if you endure if you persevere then your strength will be renewed. So be brave and keep still. Be courageous and wait on the Lord. It’s time we surrender all, even our forward momentum, and allow Him to call the plays. Beware of false starts, beloved, and wait until His signal, for in the waiting He will give you the strength that you need to endure all that is coming ahead.
Written by Amanda Strauser