WHAT SAM I AM CAN TEACH ABOUT WAITING ON GOD
If you’re anything like me, you hate waiting. Impatience is a virtue, but not a good one. It’s true of waiting on God, too. We want our prayers answered pronto. We want God to speak to us, guide us, counsel us immediately. Yet, we know it rarely works like that. We often have to wait. And sometimes a long, long time.
In those times of waiting, it’s tempting to rush ahead, to “make it happen,” ourselves. We speak, act, or move in our own strength, power and reasoning, while still thinking we’re seeking the Lord. But in doing so, we forsake that quiet place of prayer and pondering. Of waiting, patiently, for the still small voice of God.
May I suggest a simple acronym that I learned about recently and which struck me profoundly, and I hope to practice going forward? It comes from Dr. Seuss himself, from his book, “Green Eggs and Ham,” from his character Sam I am.
S.A.M. for Speak, Act, Move.
Before I Speak
Oftentimes my prayers become a catalogue of wants and demands. A monologue rather than a dialogue. I come before the Lord most mornings with my one-sided conversation, pouring forth my requests (which God does encourage me to, based on Philippians 4:6). But more times than not, I forget to practice silence first, to settle my heart and mind before I open my mouth. My heart may be heavy with something that’s going on in my life or in the lives of my loved ones, and I feel the need to tell the Lord immediately. But the Lord already knows. I needn’t rush to my requests. Instead, I should rush to silence. Like King David, I need to calm and quiet my soul before God, like a “weaned child with his mother” (Psalm 131).
“The LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him,” says Habakkuk 2:20. Even during times of trouble and trials, God invites me to practice, “peace, be still” (Mark 4:35-41). He tells me again in Psalm 4:3 to “be still, and know that I am God.” Still in Hebrew means “to be weak, to let go, to release.” To surrender.
Before speaking, my friends, practice silence first. Be still. Quiet your mind. Acknowledge God’s presence and power. Surrender your heart to Him before ever uttering a word or request.
Before I Act
I am so prone to act (or react) in the heat of the moment. Spontaneously, immediately. Even in spiritual matters. There are times when I’ve moved ahead of the Lord’s leading, and I’ve ended up regretting it, having to repent of my rash action (or reaction).
Waiting to act in those instances would have been the wiser choice. But I did not. I should have sought the Lord’s counsel first, as Psalm 3:6 instructs. Seek the Lord. Acknowledge Him (NIV, “submit to Him”), and He will “direct” my path.
God longs—wants!—to impart His wisdom to us, if we but ask…before we act on a decision or situation. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Before you Move
God’s ways and thoughts are not like mine. I think logically, rationally. Earthly. God thinks supernaturally. He knows the Bigger Picture. But I am oftentimes impatient to get going. My desire and need for immediate results often causes me to rush head of God’s timing and plans. Like Act above, before I make a move of any kind, I should push pause. I should quiet yourself. Wait. Listen. Pray. Ponder. For, when I rush ahead of my Father, I miss the lesson and blessing He has for me. There is beauty in the waiting, the listening, the trusting. A drawing closer to God. A growing deeper dependence. A lingering love.
And when I do wait before making a move, He rewards me with His counsel, His will. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).
As tempting as it is to move forward in your own logic and reasoning, don’t. Don’t make a move until you’ve heard His voice telling you to do so, saying “This is the way. My way. Walk in it.”
I hope this simple, yet profound acronym helps you. I believe that practicing it will have lasting and profound effects on our spiritual life and relationship with God going forward.
Be encouraged. Be blessed.