“It is wisest to wait.”
How many of us have heard this, have said this, time and time again?
Wait. Until you’ve saved enough money. Until the window of opportunity opens. Until you’re ready.
And I agree, I really do. However, though this may sound contradictory, I think this advice can be mistaken too.
Please don’t get me wrong. Of course, there are finances to be considered. Of course, timing is a huge deal. Of course, there are steps to be taken. But practical doesn’t always mean wise. The truth is, there are some things we just can never be “ready enough” for and it is possible to overstay a season far too long because we keep waiting until “everything falls into place.”
When I think of Mary, who was most probably around 14 years old the time she had Jesus, I can only think of how she was not ready, being unmarried and a virgin at that. Her wildest dreams could not have prepared her for that twist in her story, yet even as she felt troubled and as she questioned the situation, she took a step out in faith and accepted what was to happen next in her life. There is also Rahab, a prostitute who didn’t wait until she “cleaned up her act” to do God’s work and grabbed the opportunity to help a couple of Israelite spies as it came. David, who was only mentally prepared to go deliver food to his brothers when he decided to go where others dare not to, chose to make do with what he had and faced the giant with mere sling and stones – no sword nor armor.
These people didn’t wait to be brave. They didn’t wait until they had all their ducks in a row. They didn’t overthink the pros and cons and turn over every detail to get to the “wisest” strategy or game plan. They took what they had, here and now, and acted in faith.
You know, I always ask myself, “what is the wisest thing to do?”, and with hammered-in views on what wisdom is supposed to look like, that usually leads me down a path that is well thought out and safe. So “to balance things out”, one more thing I ponder on is, what is the faith-full thing to do? In this situation, at this time, what action will require the most faith from me?
. . . but should it really be wisdom vs faith?
Let me tell you something. After I graduated, I was mentally prepared and rather excited to move on to the next season. I was pumped up and ready to do whatever God would have asked of me.
He asked me to stay still and to wait.
At that time, given how it was the complete opposite of what I expected, it required the most faith from me. So I stilled and waited. Fast forward to almost two years later, when waiting had become my comfort zone, God asked me to step out and move. Even if it was still exactly about moving toward the next season, faith now required something different from me. So I took action. My mind and heart were again ready to fully plunge into what was coming. And then after a few weeks, God asked me to wait again when the “best” thing to have done is to jump the iron while it’s hot. He knew that at that moment, the way I was, it would take more faith for me to pause once I got going. (This tango, my friends, is one of the reasons why it’s so difficult to be an all or nothing kind of girl 😅).
But if all that taught me anything, it’s this: maybe wisdom doesn’t mean being rational and faith doesn’t mean being irrational. Maybe wisdom means forgoing reasonable and faith means forgoing risky. Maybe wisdom means doing what is illogical, choosing what is unpredictable, and taking a chance on the uncertain while faith means doing what is logical, choosing what is predictable, and taking a chance on what you already know.
If that was hard for you to follow, let me put it this way: wisdom isn’t simply being practical or sensible. Faith isn’t about being illogical or unreasonable either. This life isn’t a game of wisdom vs faith. The wise act in faith and the faith-full act in wisdom. It takes more for the impulsive to slow down and plan the same way it takes more for the wary to take a dive headfirst into the uncharted, thus it goes the same both ways – choose what frightens you; choose what stretches you; choose what requires the most faith.
So, is it wisest to wait?
Not necessarily. But always,
It is wisest to act in faith.
. . . without faith, it is impossible to please God.