My journal entries have included a lot of question marks lately, and I’m learning a lot about waiting on the Lord. His timetable isn’t mine…it’s better!
Waiting is far from my favorite pastime, yet, believe it or not, sometimes I wait unnecessarily. Sometimes we wait when really we should act.
The other day I read in Ezra 10:4, “Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee….” Ezra had just told the people what they needed to do to restore their fellowship with God, but he couldn’t act for the people. He could only share the truth and then say, “The ball is now in your court—you must do something about it.”
Yes, there are times we need to wait on God, but sometimes we use waiting as an excuse for disobedience.
What are times when the ball is in our court? Here are a few:
- When it is a matter of obedience. This was the case in Ezra 10. The people knew they were living in disobedience to God. The only solution was repentance and change.
- When we’ve just heard truth. Fully receiving truth usually requires taking a step of action. I find that keeping a journal helps me to assimilate truths from God’s Word and then clearly identify steps of change. Also, taking a few minutes after a church service or retreat to think through what I will do differently because of what I have learned is helpful.
- When we know God’s will and can take the next step in the right direction. God’s will usually involves patience and waiting on Him. Yet, there always comes a point when we know the next step and could take it. Sometimes we want to wait to take the next step until we see a full road map, but we often won’t know the following step until we follow through on what we already know—on what we have just learned. This is part of the adventure of faith!
- When we could encourage someone else to take the step they need to take. Ezra had the boldness to tell the Israelites, “Hey, there’s a ball sitting in your court. This matter belongs to you—do something!” I’m thankful for people who have cared enough to point out needed actions in my life, and I want to be willing to lovingly do the same for others. The end of Ezra 10:4 says, “We also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.” In other words, Ezra wanted to provide any assistance, encouragement, or support he could, but he reminded the people, “You must act.”
What ball is in your court?