By Chaplain (Capt.) Brent Sanders
Special to GUIDON
Sitting in a local coffee shop, looking for inspiration, I heard a familiar voice… “Hey, you…! How about the greeting of the day?”
An aloof private declined the opportunity to greet an officer. The drill sergeant’s commanding admonition to this private for military bearing stirred me from my silent contemplation.
A chaplain does not have command authority and is not accustomed to giving orders. However, when it comes to God, even chaplains sometimes cultivate a “Hey, you…!” mode of operation.
“I’m busy, God, and I need results, hurry up!” As I chatted with this squared away NCO, he observed that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to do nothing. The drill sergeant reflected on the nature of being in ministry versus the nature of being a Soldier.
A drill sergeant has the luxury of commanding action. When the Christian talks to God, the response is sometimes crickets. Sometimes, like the private, we know what to do, we’re just not doing it. At other times, the proper response is simply for us to wait. We chide the younger generation for being impatient, but if we’re honest with ourselves, many of us hate to wait, regardless of our birth year.
Even the psalmist got impatient at times—and that was long before the smart phone. Yet, the same psalmist declares, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he heard my cry and set my feet upon a rock and established my steps” (Psalm 40).
When we wait on the Lord, he can bless us with a fresh perspective. We live in an impatient culture, but in God’s economy, patience is one of the most valuable traits we can cultivate. It’s not passivity. It’s not laziness. It’s a paradoxical reality in a paradoxical world.
God reminded me there is a time and place for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3). A time to leap into action when we know what right looks like, and a time to hold back when further guidance is needed. Our greatest insights can be gained during a period of alert waiting. Wait on the Lord and he’ll give you what you need and like the psalmist, establish your steps.
(Editor’s note: Sanders is the 701st Military Police Battalion chaplain.)