."[E]verything in [boxing] is backwards. You wanna move to the left, you don't step left, you push on the right toe. To move right you use your left toe. Instead of running from the pain… you step into it. Everything in boxing is backwards." -- Narration in "Million Dollar Baby"
I once heard a speaker relate this movie quotation to life as a Christian, and it has forever changed the way I view various aspects of Christian life. One of those aspects is the concept of waiting.
Our culture hates waiting. Waiting is seen as pointless, unimportant time during which nothing is happening and nothing can be done. You just have to wait until what you are waiting for occurs, and then you can continue "living." In my profession I have even been technically trained to identify the "waste" of waiting and eliminate it. Yes, the world hates waiting.
But with God, everything is backwards. Waiting is trusting. Waiting is hoping. Waiting is active. Waiting is fighting.
The Nation of Israel's conquest of Jericho narrated in Joshua 6 is an example of this. God tells Israel that they are going to conquer the mighty city in Joshua 6:2.
"And the LORD said to Joshua, 'See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.'" (ESV)
But He also tells them that it will not happen for several days. Did you ever think about that? God makes them wait. But God does not tell them to sit around and mope for several days before conquering the city. He gives them specific instructions in Joshua 6:3-5.
"’You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.’ " (ESV)
They are to march. They are not to shout or speak (Joshua 6:10). They are to trust and hope. And they are to act when the time comes and witness God's power.
So what does this mean for us? It means that we should think in a "backwards," godly way when we encounter periods of waiting. During those times, we should read God's word to remind us of truth and promote growth (John 17:17). We should pray to cast our anxieties upon God and build deeper intimacy with Him (1 Peter 5:7). We should trust and hope in God's character and promises (Numbers 23:19). We should continue to serve in whatever capacity God has called us to (Romans 12:11). We should fight against our tendency to be idle and resent waiting.
What are you currently waiting for? May God transform us into women who view waiting in His holy, "backwards" way.
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