One of the hardest lessons for us to learn in our walk with God is that sometimes the best thing to do is nothing; nothing in the sense that we actively wait for God to do that which allows us to do more for His kingdom and glory. There is never a right time to do the wrong thing, but there is a wrong time to do the right thing (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11). Much good can be undone through precipitous and prayerless actions on our part. Running ahead of God is just as great a spiritual danger as falling behind in our obedience towards Him (Psalm 32:8-9).
This principle is worked out early in Nehemiah’s ministry (Nehemiah 2:1-10). Having become burdened about the dismal state of affairs back in Jerusalem, Nehemiah immediately offers his services to God (Nehemiah 1:11). But Nehemiah was all too aware that to ramrod the issue of the plight of Jerusalem with the king could precipitate a “right royal mess.” Therefore, he waits for a God-given opportunity to tell the king of his desire to return to Jerusalem to head up a rebuilding program. That waiting time lasted four long months, spanning November to April (Nehemiah 1:1, 2:1). But after four months, God acts and opens a wonderful door of opportunity through which Nehemiah steps to begin his life mission of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-10).
Sitting still is a hard thing to do but Nehemiah would remind us that it can be the greatest thing we can do. In faith, we sit back and watch God do His sovereign work in us and for us (Exodus 14:13). During that time we learn that waiting time is never wasted time. On the one hand, God is preparing us for all that He is preparing us for. During the down time He matures our faith and clarifies our vision. Just as you cannot rush the delivery and development of a child, you cannot rush the delivery and development of a God-sent calling. On the other hand, God during the down time is often getting things ready for what we are about to do. While we learn our lines and understand our role within the will of God, God Himself is setting the stage for our appearance. You see both these principles at work in Nehemiah’s story; God prepares Nehemiah and then prepares the king for Nehemiah. Waiting time is never wasted time, for a little more of God makes up for a great deal less of us.
Philip Melanchthon and Martin Luther were once deciding on the day’s agenda. Melanchthon said: “Martin this day we will discuss the governance of the universe.” To which Luther replied, “This day you and I will go fishing and leave governance of the universe to God.” Leaving things alone and leaving things with God for a time is sometimes the best thing we can do.
Waiting time is never wasted time.