“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” -Proverbs 14:29
“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” -Proverbs 16:32
The recent helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other men, women, and children was a terrible and tragic accident. We grieve for all the surviving families. Dense fog in the coastal areas of California is a common occurrence; it can create truly dangerous conditions of obscured sight, especially when you are in a moving conveyance.
The pilot of Bryant’s helicopter had apparently already circled the LA zoo six times waiting for the fog to clear, particularly in the Calabasas foothills north of LA. The pilot seemingly decided to try to navigate this area to get his passengers to their destination. His calculation proved disastrous.
We are all beset by the malady of impatience. Who among us has never been impatient? It is a human condition of all fallen creatures. Sin infects our human nature. None of us are God. We sin, and sin is an impediment to our sight. It renders us myopic; we do not see clearly, nor rightly.
Impatience is really a condition of presuming to be God when we really are not. God has no obstacles to His sight. He sees the beginning and the end. Nothing obscures His vision, ever! When our vision is obscured, we simply cannot see through obstacles. If we proceed impatiently, we gamble. Sometimes the gamble works; most times it does not. In this case, the pilot’s apparent gamble did not.
What does this tell you about your own impatience? Should you put yourself in the place of God, especially when things are not completely sure for you to proceed? If you cannot see clearly ahead and God has not given you any indication or authorization to go ahead, should you?
It comes down to letting God be God and, consequently, being assured that God is directing your paths. God has promised such guidance to His children. He tells us in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you,” and in Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” He also tells us to wait on Him; that is, He calls us to sometimes exercise godly patience. Psalm 27:14 instructs us, “Wait on the Lord…wait, I say, on the Lord.” When God indicates “wait,” I dare say you should listen to Him. When He says “Go,” you can move forward.
This instruction requires you to be close to God. You must draw near to Him and remain in that fellowship. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” This implies intimate fellowship with Jesus which is there for the asking. Your faith recognizes He is there and asks for His counsel and guidance.
Often decisions need to be made in the spur of the moment. How do we wait in those situations for the Lord’s guidance? It is a matter of living continually in the Lord’s will. It is a matter where you build up a habit of waiting on the Lord, of being in His will, of developing a knowledge of how God desires you to live. If you must decide quickly, then proceed by faith, trusting the instincts of faith He works in you over time. You can trust Him to so guide your steps that you can make a precise and fast decision. This arises, however, from a habit of godly practice, the nurturing of a godly sense.
Remaining close to the Lord is the key. I believe we all know when the Lord is close to us or not. We go through certain times where we sense by faith a distance from the Lord. It is up to you to do something about it. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” is the promise in James 4:8. The key is staying close to God and drawing near to His heart, as a child crawling into your Father’s lap. Remember the words of the hymn: “Jesus, keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain…” Patience is always exercised in His strength alone. As the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“If thou but suffer God to guide thee and hope in Him through all thy ways, He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee and bear thee through the evil days. Who trusts in God’s unchanging love builds on the rock that naught can move.
Only be still and wait His leisure in cheerful hope with heart content to take whate’er thy Father’s pleasure and all deserving love hath sent, nor doubt our inmost wants are known to Him who chose us for His own.”
(First and third verses of Georg Neumark’s hymn, “If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee,” 1641)
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