I’m not very good at waiting… I’m better at jumping in feet first… but I’m learning at least to look where I’ll land before I leap, and occasionally to wait until the timing is right.
(Actually that’s not quite true- I’m learning to ask my wife whether the timing is right and to listen to her wisdom).
Sometimes when we see things we want to do, to own, or to stop, we want to act now- arrest him, bomb them, buy that, go there and do it all right now. If nothing else it would help us to feel involved… as though we’re doing something, even if its not the best thing.
After 9/11, many people were watching the US to see what they would do, how they would respond, and in the eyes of some, many of the armed conflicts in the last decade have their roots not only in the events leading up to 9/11, but also in the response by the US government and their allies.
What would have happened if the US had waited? Some might have thought the government weak or indecisive, as has been said in recent weeks of Obama’s stance.
But sometimes it takes strength of will and determination to wait- to observe, to reflect, to act rightly and in the right time.
If you’ve been wondering what my Bible passage today is, it’s Acts chapter 1, verses 1-11, Jesus’ last few words with his disciples- where they went from being the followers (disciples) to being the messengers (apostles). But very importantly he told them to wait. Not until a certain date, but until an event- one that they’d recognise when it happened.
‘what are we doing?’
‘Why are we just sitting here doing nothing?’
‘We’re not doing nothing- we’re waiting. We’re waiting until the right time’
I’ve no idea what film/book, if any, those lines come from… but they could have been said by the disciples to each other during this next time. We’re waiting until the right time. And the right time will be when God decides to send his Spirit. And we’ll know when its come. We’ll know what to do.
But when is the right time to respond to violence, terrorism and oppression? Should we wait or is it more that the action must fit the time… there may be a time for military action, there may be a time for political action, there may be a time for prayer, for support for aid agencies. The greatest wisdom comes in knowing not only how to act, but when.
Let’s pray for ourselves that we can know this today, and for those political leaders attempting to bring a peaceful end to the bloodshed in Iraq and Syria.