A few weeks ago, my wife made Thai soup. I don’t know the exact name, but I do know it was delicious. I’m not just saying that because she reads this blog and I find her incredibly attractive. The soup was honestly good.
I’d never had it before, but it had some sort of coconut milk, pepper, curry, flavor explosion thing going on. In the middle of the meal, I saw a thin, innocent looking red pepper in my spoon. As with most times I’ve eaten a meal, I then took the spoon and put the contents of it in my mouth. (Are you eating differently? Not putting the concave end of the spoon in your mouth? Interesting.)
That was apparently the wrong thing to do, because the second I bit into that pepper, a small fire erupted in my mouth.
I’ve eaten hot stuff before. I giggle at wasabi at sushi restaurants. I laugh at hot salsa at Mexican restaurants. But this was like something I’ve never experienced. I didn’t have the mental will power to physically beat this pepper. My eyes immediately started pouring tears that I can only assume were made of fire. My tongue felt like lightning, and my lips started to debate with each other whether they should blister or not.
With the only words I could muster while running to the kitchen to see if we had any liquid nitrogen, I said to my wife, “Do you eat the peppers?”
She immediately responded, “No way! Why would you do that?”
With my face aflame, I responded, “They were in the bowl! I eat things that are in the bowl!”
Not the best response, but in my defense, I was not aware that our meals were now coming with booby traps. If it was on the side of a plate and looked all garnishy I would have ignored it. But it was sitting in the bowl peacefully, and in the last 10 years of marriage, I was led to believe there are not demon peppers hidden in the things we eat.
I drank milk. I ate as many pieces of bread that I could find. I got the bag the peppers came in out of the trash to make sure there wasn’t some sort of baking soda I should be pouring on my tongue. And then, twenty minutes later when things cooled down, I asked my wife, “Why didn’t you tell me I wasn’t supposed to eat the peppers?”
I forget what she said back. I had a heatstroke and that night is fuzzy. But she could have easily said, “Cause you’re 35 and I assume you eat at restaurants when I’m not around and know how to eat meals on your own.” She didn’t say that, but it would have been justified given the question I asked her.
I don’t know what questions you ask your wife or your husband or your boyfriend or your girlfriend. I don’t know what questions you ask professors or friends or bosses or anyone else. But I do know one question you ask God. It’s one of the most popular questions we Christians ask. Here it is:
“Do you want me to wait on you right now God?”
Waiting on God is one of the hardest things to figure out. I’ve written about it a bunch before because it’s a question we all ask at some point.
Does God want me to look for a new job, or be still and wait where he has me?
Does God want me to date more if I’m interested in being married, or does he want me to wait on him?
Does God want us to buy a new house or wait on him?
Does God want me to quit my job and join the mission field or wait on him?
The variety of wait-or-go situations is endless. And confusing.
But I have discovered one tiny verse that’s challenged how I view the waiting dilemma.
The verse is Mark 15:43, and it’s really simple. It’s such a fragment of a fragment of a much bigger story that it’s easy to overlook it. But it does speak to waiting in an interesting way.
Here is what it says:
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
On the one hand, Joseph is noted as someone who was “waiting for the kingdom of God.” He is identified as a man of faith, as someone waiting. But then, within the confines of the same exact sentence, he is described as someone that “went boldly.”
He didn’t do one or the other; he did both. Waiting and action were not mutually exclusive in his life. But most of the time, I act like they are. I usually think it’s a one or the other type of world we’re living in. I either wait on God, or I run with God. But Joseph did both.
He waited and he sprinted.
He was calm and bold.
Peaceful and busy. (Insert your own two words that feel weird together.)
Maybe the answer to the question we all keep asking isn’t what we thought it would be.
Maybe the answer to the question, “Should I wait on God or hustle as hard as I can?” is actually “Yes.”