“Just do the thing in front of you” Elisabeth Elliot said, and I have always believed that statement to be true, but now I am on a different place and I’m seeing things from a different angle. Yes, doing the next thing God calls us to do is mandatory, but sitting still for a while before moving towards the next thing is as important as moving forward. Finding a quiet time is, many times the next thing we ought to do. Especially for those of us who are prone to move.
Our second son just got married, and we are very grateful for the new daughter that we now have. We love her deeply. We are grateful for the many, many prayers we have prayed before our Father who hears us for our son and this wife; we are grateful for the gift of seeing them start their new family with prayer, anchored in the Word. I am truly grateful and very happy. But it is still a hard thing to let your son go. Doing the next thing for me now looks like slowing down and reading my Bible more and making more room for prayer.
My dear friend and I had this conversation a few days ago, that made me think more on what it means to feel this void in the heart that is very hard to explain because, paradoxically, my heart is more full now. She said that when we marry a child we finish a job, and finishing a job is always something solemn and sober that calls for reflection. How I agree with her!
You know, Friend, turning the page quickly to the new chapter of your life sometimes cannot be done quickly. Sometimes it is good and important to take the time to reflect and pray before doing the next thing. To recall the many prayers you have prayed, the answers God has given, the promises that have sustained you is a good thing to do. Morbid introspection has no place here. It is not about us, remember, it is about God’s glory and His promises, it is about His perfect and sovereign plan and us becoming more like Christ. Doing the next thing many times is not necessarily moving forward, but slowing down and praying more, asking God to give you a promise that you can hold unto in the days and months to come.
Some days and life events should look more like your favorite book: you finish a chapter and you love it so much that instead of not wanting to put your book down to see what comes next, you close it and want to linger on it a bit more. It is so good, so rich, that moving quickly to the next chapter is not a good idea. You need to let the story sink down. And then, when you turn the page, you understand the story better and love it even more.
We are so quick to move, to do the next thing right away that we end up living an unexamined life, and Socrates got it right, an unexamined life is not worth living.
So yes, let’s do the next thing, but first let’s take time to slow down and consider Christ and the work of His Spirit in our own lives.
Under His sun and by His grace,