Waiting in the Crucible. How does a Christian know when to be aggressive, moving ahead vigorously, and when to be patient, waiting until the right time?
- When and how to wait. This week’s discussion focuses on waiting: How does a Christian know when to be aggressive, moving ahead vigorously, and when to be patient, waiting until the right time? The question can be pursued further in the light of the following passages and stories:
- Romans 15:4-5: Patience and encouragement. In a passage admonishing believers to help others instead of just serving our own needs, the words “patience” and “encouragement” rise to prominence. Why are patience and encouragement emphasized by Paul? Do these two words capture the kind of attitude that is most likely to be helpful in dealing with people?
- Romans 5:3-5: From suffering to hope. In a causative chain, Paul links the following traits together: Suffering produces endurance [patience], endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Is that sequence and formula a “standard” way in which one arrives at a “hopeful” perspective in life?
- Romans 5:6 / Galatians 4:4: Christ came at the “right” time. If there was a “right” time for Christ to come, why did God wait so long for it to come? Is it open to humans to understand the possible reasons for the delay?
- 1 Samuel 16:1-13: David waits for the throne. Is there any good explanation for the fact that David made no attempt to wrest the kingdom from Saul after the anointing by the prophet Samuel? How does a believer know when to wait and when to push ahead?
- 1 Samuel 26: David waits for the vengeance of the Lord. David refused to take Saul’s life, even when “providence” seems to have opened the door for him. Does Scripture give any reason why David refused to remove Saul, the godforsaken king, from the stage of action?
- 1 Kings 19: Elijah flees from Jezebel. At first glance the story of Elijah’s flight from Jezebel has more to do with a panic attack than a simple failure to “wait.” Are there other examples from Elijah’s life that indicate the ability to “wait”?
- Psalm 37:1-11: Waiting for judgment on the wicked. Psalm 37 implies that God will act against the wicked in his time, not ours. Does this psalm give any clues as to how a believer is to know whether simply to wait for evil to disappear or to take a more active role in seeking its demise?