Waiting on the Lord: "Active" versus "Passive" Waiting

One of the hardest parts of waiting on the Lord to reveal his will is to know if we should a) sit still or b) try something. There are two schools of thought on this, either one of which may be right at a particular moment.

The School of "Active" Waiting

I tend toward action. My philosophy is: Not even God can change the direction of a stationary object. So I tend to favor "active" waiting–that God can speak to me best by directing my body in motion. This means, then, that when I err it is because I would not sit still long enough.

The School of "Passive" Waiting

Recently I heard from a man who lost his career to new machine technology. He has been engaged in "passive" waiting–for six years…SO FAR! It would be a terrible error for me to assume he has it wrong. From my "human" perspective, I would think the solution is to get re-trained for a new vocation. Yet, he is eating and taking care of his family. Simply, you and I never know what God’s will is for another man’s life. That said, it would be an equally terrible error for this man not to at least pray about some "active" waiting.

So what’s the answer? The solution, whether by active or passive waiting, is to discern the wisdom of God by employing the means he has given us. Here are (at least) seven means to find God’s will:

  • Prayer
  • The Bible
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Counsel
  • Circumstances
  • Conscience
  • Fasting

Now for application: Are you an active waiter that needs to be more passive, or a passive waiter that needs to be more active? What’s your next move?

For the glory of Christ and no other reason,

Pat Morley, Ph.D.

Man in the Mirror

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