Crossing the Street
When I was a young boy, my father would regularly take me with him to do his Saturday errands, usually involving a number of stops in the downtown area of the small steel town in western Pennsylvania where I grew up. Traffic in our small town was hardly a problem. Nevertheless, as a young boy, I never crossed a street without holding my father’s hand. Every time we stood together on the curb, he would extend his arm toward me, waiting for me to take his hand before we crossed to the other side.
I didn’t need to know where Dad was headed or what we were going to do when we got there. He knew. My job was simply to take his hand before we crossed and hold onto it until we safely reached the other side. That’s all I had to do.
Such a simple action. But such a vivid, enduring picture in my mind.
Our First Step
Doesn’t it make sense that in every decision we make and every direction we take, our first step ought to be to take hold of God’s outstretched hand.
Over the last few years, a Scripture that has become especially meaningful to me is Jeremiah 33:3 (nkjv), where God says: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” As I compared this passage to similar verses, I discovered one striking truth. Almost without fail, whenever the Lord tells us to call to Him, His next words are, “. . . and I will answer you.”
When we are facing a question of guidance or direction, what should be our first step? To reach out actively to God’s extended hand and take hold of it. That action takes the form of calling upon the Lord as a first priority, assuring Him we will hold on to Him through the process.
The second point I have appreciated in this passage concerns what the Lord promises to show us. One note in this translation concerning the word “mighty” gives its meaning as “inaccessible.” There are matters we simply will not know unless our hand is in His. Those matters are “inaccessible” to us under normal circumstances. With our hand in His, they become clear to us. We may not always know where we are headed or what we are to do. He knows. Our job is simply to hold on to His hand as He leads us “across the street.”
Such a basic action. But such an essential step for each of us in fulfilling His plan.
What is it, then, that’s so important about waiting for God? What are the results that it will produce in us? I’d like to suggest that in waiting for God we acknowledge God in a very special way. We give Him His rightful place in our lives. It builds a relationship with Him that cannot be built in any other way.
In particular, there are three ways we acknowledge God by waiting for Him. First, we acknowledge God as our source. That’s why the psalmist said, “Wait for God only.” He was saying to his own soul, “What you need can only come from God. There’s no other source for what you need.” So, it’s in vain to turn in any other direction. You have to keep your heart and your mind focused on God by waiting for Him.
Secondly, we acknowledge God’s sovereignty, and that is so important. The initiative is with God. The timing is with God. We can’t tell God when to do it. We have to wait until He in His infinite wisdom reveals the time that it needs to be done. That way, we are acknowledging God’s sovereignty in our lives.
Thirdly, we’re acknowledging our dependence upon God. That is something that’s painful for all of us, because as a result of man’s fall, there is ingrained in every human being a deep desire to be independent—even to be independent of God. Waiting for God deals with this desire for independence. It continually reminds us we are dependent upon God. The initiative comes from God. The only source is God. And so it humbles and subdues that carnal impulse in us which is continually striving to be independent of God.
Well this is the 2nd time Jerm.33:3 has been mentioned to me in the last 24 hours. Think "someone" is trying to tell me something?
But also, this describes the whole walk we have taken in our Journey to build our new home. We didn't understand a bit of our struggles. But, we put our hand in His and followed. We never understood why things happened as they did, but to get this now, and look back on all we have been through. . . . I understand now. Wow.