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Be Still and Wait Patiently

While hurrying to get back home one morning last week, the words of a song on the radio caught my attention. It was not a church song yet the few words at the end of the song that I happened to hear reminded me of life and how it is too easy to fill our time with so much activity that things of true value no longer have the meaning that they are meant to. The lyrics included an admission about life that went something like this: “I rush to get things done until life’s no fun.” Quite likely the events I had encountered over the previous few days made those words especially personal to me at that moment.

We were scheduled to leave during the day to journey to north Georgia to check on family. As I was getting some things done outside before we left I heard the all too familiar tone of voice that my wife has when something has gone wrong—this time it was the washing machine. You might remember a time when washing machines were not found in every home, but in our day, as we well know, they are a necessity and not a luxury. I went in to see if I could get the ailing machine back in service and I managed to get the load already in progress finished. Eventually, though, I had to declare the thing a candidate for replacement.

As if the failed washer was not enough, the storm came. With severe weather warnings issued, the decision as to whether to leave on our trip or not was being tossed around in my mind. When we finally got a break in the weather and I attempted to load our luggage in the car more bands of rain came and stalled my plans. After delays and difficulties we were finally able to embark upon our trip but even as we did we feared that the heavy rains might have the roads impassable. Thankfully we were able to reach our destination safely just before one o’clock the next morning.

To say that through all the inconveniences and interruptions that we faced in our travel plans, something got my attention that made my problems seem a whole lot smaller. While in a crowd of people I saw a young person who was completely bald—the kind of baldness associated with cancer treatment. I do not know who the person was or what the circumstances were, but whatever it was it was certainly more important than having to replace an eight year old washing machine or having to drive later into the night than expected. I think I can describe it as a reality check that helped me realize afresh that most of the things that frustrate us greatly are not that big of a deal in the larger picture of life.

Looking back I am reminded that the rains stopped, we made our trip safely, and the washing machine has been replaced, but the person that unknowingly caught my attention still has no hair and might even be facing uncertainties about the future.

When we “rush to get things done until life’s no fun” we can easily lose sight of what really matters. The writer of Psalm 37 gives sound advice that helps us obtain a proper perspective of life with all its good and bad events: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (verse 7, New International Version). It cuts against our human ways to be still and exercise patience, but doing so can make life a lot more enjoyable and enable us to see what God wants us to see. As we wait patiently in the midst of life’s frustrations He will help us to see more clearly that His plans are always perfect.