Sitting, looking across a small lake in Florida, and watching a heron standing at the water’s edge, I was taught another spiritual lesson. The heron was looking intently across the water, patiently waiting and determined to get its food.
The heron could see the evidence of food as it saw the ripples on the water as fish jumped up to catch flies. The fish were probably totally unaware of the presence of the heron because of its stillness. As the fish were so intently looking for their own food they were unaware of the danger they were in, but eventually the heron would strike, then fly off to its nest having got what it went for.
There are a number of instances in Scripture where God says, ‘Be still’, and in Psalm 37:7 He says ‘Wait patiently for Him’. This is not the stillness of idleness, but the stillness of quiet trust and confidence in letting God work things out for us.
In the rush and bustle of daily life there is the tendency to grow impatient and do things hurriedly and from our own initiative, as the old song says, ‘I’ll do it my way’. Sadly, and on many such occasions we discover that we have ‘gone through the motions’ but have failed to achieve anything worthwhile.
As a young man, brought up in a Christian home, it was customary for me to do all the things a good Christian should do. For example, teaching a Sunday school class at fourteen, and preaching the Gospel from the age of twenty-one. These were the kind of things my Christian peers were doing. After a number of years, when I came back from a preaching engagement my wife would ask ‘how many came to the Lord tonight?’ Sadly, the response would always be the same, ‘I don’t know of anyone’.
Why? Well, facing the facts honestly, I have to say I hadn’t taken the time to ‘be still’ and ‘wait’ for God to call and direct me into His plan and purpose. Later in life, when I did hear His call and direction, and responded to them, I was more fruitful. God was able to do things His way, using a human vessel who had been still and responded to His directing.
It is far better to wait patiently until God clearly directs us into doing what He wants us to do than to be up and doing what we see others doing. Then we are doing things in our own strength, carnally and soulishly, and not in the strength of the Lord. On the other hand, when we respond to the Lord’s direction, we will see Him do His work in amazing ways. We’ll be like the disciples in Luke 10:17, and return with joy giving Him the praise and glory.
Prayer: Father God, I am sorry for those times when I have done things in my own strength and not waited for You to guide me. Please forgive my soulishness. Help me to wait and listen for Your guidance and only do those things You want me to do, so that You get all the praise and glory. Amen.
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