Do Something or Be Still?
This article is Part 5 of Sister Michelle Watson's series "Dealing With Divine Delays," chronicling the lessons she learned during a time of infertility.
"Should I wait on God to tell me what to do, or should I step out on faith and take action?"
Have you ever asked yourself this question? You're seeking God's direction about a big decision or which fork in the road to take. It's not really a choice between something sinful vs. not sinful — that would be easier. These decisions aren't clear-cut.
In my case, I wanted a baby. In your case, maybe it's:
- Should I take this job offer?
- Should I ask her to marry me?
- Should I buy this particular house?
After praying, consulting with people you trust, and considering all possible outcomes, you probably found yourself wishing there was a scripture verse that said something like, "Thou shalt take the job," or "Marry thy love," or "Sign ye the loan papers."
In my situation, my husband, Brother Michael, and I knew that if we wanted a baby, there were a slew of doctors who would be more than happy to lead us down the road of artificial inseminations and in vitro fertilizations. There were also plenty of adoption professionals who could help place any number of children in our home.
Should we take steps toward one of these options, or should we just sit tight till God tells us what to do?
Please believe me when I say this ... I cannot fully emphasize how much we agonized over this question.
Do something? God helps those who help themselves, after all.
Or, do nothing? "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)
The limbo between the two was excruciating.
We didn't want to invest loads of time, money, and emotion in something that wasn't in God's plan for us, but we also didn't want to live a wimpy, inert existence where we didn't trust God enough to take any kind of risk whatsoever.
We wanted a baby, yes, but we wanted the baby to come into our family God's way, not ours. If His way was medicine, then bring on the needles and pills. If His way was adoption, then bring on the home study and paperwork. If His way was a miracle pregnancy, then bring on the pickles and ice cream.
We just didn't know what His way was.
There was no answer to this specific question in scripture ... was there?
Believe it or not, we found our answer in Romans 14:23.
It says, "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Basically, if we're doing something, and it's not coming from a place of faith (trust) or faithfulness (obedience), then that action displeases God. Things that go against our Christian convictions or hinder us from pursuing God's calling on our lives are no-no's, too.
Finally! We had a clear lens through which to examine each option. We asked ourselves, "Are faith, trust, and obedience motivating us to take these steps? Or is something else motivating us?"
Romans 14:23 helped us to say "yes" to some medical treatments and "no" to others. It helped us to take wild-n-crazy steps of faith, such as asking our close family and friends to fast and pray with us and asking for the ministry to anoint us many, many times. It helped us to avoid taking actions that were motivated by:
- The need to feel powerful, in control
- The fatigue of waiting so long
- The fear of missing out
- Pressure from other people
Warning! When your heart is set on something that you want real bad, it's very easy to put your emotions in the driver's seat, and before you know it, you're using Romans 14:23 to justify doing what you were always going to do in the first place. It's essential to be truthful, self-aware, and open to God's direction. If you're not, then you could misapply this scripture and render it meaningless.
What about your big dilemma? Can you use Romans 14:23 to evaluate your options?
Even though it's not exactly easy, this has become our go-to approach for all hazy, ill-defined scenarios that come our way. Can we act in faith, trust, and obedience? If so, then we proceed with prayer. If not, then we stay put and wait on God.
Topic for next time: How do you stay connected to God when it feels like He's a million miles away?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.