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Some thoughts on life, purpose, leadership, ministry and some other stuff.

'The Red Light': The Value Of Patience And Waiting

I think I ran a ‘red’ the other day, and I am pretty sure there was a camera beside that traffic light. I’m not sure, but I’ll wait and see if the ticket shows up in the mail. I really hope it doesn't. This whole incident got me thinking. Why are there traffic lights? Why do we have to wait for the ‘green’ to get going? Why don’t we all just get on the road and drive as lawlessly as we can—no inhibitions; no limitations? Why does the race have to start when the gun goes off? Why can’t each runner start the race whenever they come out of the dressing room, everyone in his or her own time?

Chaos is the word that comes to mind.

So I started thinking, why do we have to be patient along the way of life? Some of us already know where we want to be, that is why you are on the road you are on. You know where you want to be, you have a pretty good idea how to get there, but somehow you are demanded to wait. Somehow, with your engine revving, you are shown the ‘red light’ and you have to stop. Not switch off the engine, but apply the brakes.

It’s interesting that some of us loose our minds when we are asked to stop—at times, I do too. On the road, you see people creep closer and closer, and going past the ‘white line’, waiting impatiently for that first flicker of the ‘green light’. The fascinating thing, when you think about it, is two-fold, and thus:

  • One, you have not been told to switch off your engine; you have just been asked to apply your brakes for a few minutes. The journey has not ended for you; there is no big capital letter ‘P’ that signifies you can park. The most difficult command and instruction to obey is ‘Wait’, even when it comes from God. What we must understand is that God knows that our journey has not ended; He created us and purposed us so who would know better than Him?

Yes, I know it can feel like life is passing you by as you stand still. Other cars are going about their business and this ‘red light’ is holding you back from fulfilling your potential. It can get frustrating—I know how that feels—but there is a reason for the wait. This is not the end, it’s just a break. Keep your foot on the brakes.

  • Second dimension of this wait is order. The gun that signifies the start of the race stands for one thing: order. Without order, timing is insignificant. Without order, progress cannot be acknowledged and appreciated.

Runners have been disqualified for beating the gun. Drivers have been fined for running the ‘red light’. The most dangerous aspect of disturbing this order is the number of accidents that have occurred. People, with the right of way, have been killed by someone who ran a ‘red’ and drivers that broke the order have also lost their lives. No good comes out of disorder.

Let me get to my point with this text:

So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.1

Another version of the same test puts it this way,

But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.2

So what is the value of patience and waiting? Simple. Development and preparedness.

It is in the season of waiting that we are built into the exact specification necessary for our destination. It is during the 9 months or so a baby spends in the womb that the organs necessary to sustain life outside the gestational sac are developed. Get a baby out of the womb earlier than it’s time and you spend the first few months trying to keep it alive. God doesn’t want tat for you; He wants you to arrive your post already prepared.

The texts above uses phrases like

‘well-developed’‘not deficient in any way’‘perfectly… and fully developed’‘no defects’ and ‘lacking nothing’.

These are the outstanding benefits of waiting your turn.

If you notice, while you wait for the ‘red’ to turn ‘green’, cars are moving in all directions in front of you and, if you are frank with yourself, attempting to move forward would be dangerous. There is literally no way. But notice what happens when your light turns ‘green’. It’s as if all of a sudden things have aligned themselves in the best possible way for you. There are no cars to bump into and the way ahead is all safe and clear!

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.3 John Quincy Adams


God orders your steps. He orchestrates things in the background that ensures when you are ready to go, everything is in place for your good. I like this text,

I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.4

So, wait your turn. And in your time of seeming inactivity, build yourself. Get your acts together. Master your craft. The lime light comes with heat, and then you will have no excuse for mediocrity.

To work with patience is to gather power.5 Vimalia Mcclure


1 James 1:4,The Message

2 James 1:4,Amplified Bible

3 search for ‘patience’)

4 Isaiah 42:16, New Living Translation search for ‘patience’)

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