As more time and various events have come to pass since returning to South Africa, John and I have reached a place of peace that a move to Zimbabwe for our family is not for now. I am content. I am grateful for this feeling because our family has been praying about, talking about and planning for a move to Zimbabwe for the past two years. In fact, if you read the back of our latest prayer card, the words printed there would give some one who doesn’t know us a strong indication that we would be living in Zimbabwe by 2014. We should feel disappointed. Thankfully, we don’t.
It’s not going to happen. At least not yet.
For now, the words of David in Psalm 37, is our current plan:
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways…. Psalm 37:3-7a NIV
The Lord is asking our family to remain in South Africa and continue ministry here according to His guidance and direction. To dwell comes from the Hebrew transliterated word, shakan. Shakan means to abide and find rest, continue on where you are, settle down and establish yourself. For me, it’s interesting to note that to dwell in a place is to not only continue on in activity and purpose, but to enjoy rest there as well.
Sometimes though, it is difficult to remain in a place we thought we should have moved on from by now. Sometimes, it is a real struggle to be patient and to wait. David understood this when he wrote, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently before Him.”
When I picture ‘wait patiently’ in this verse, I have always considered it to mean that you are still before God. Why would I think that? Well, the words say, “Be still before the LORD… and wait patiently for Him.”
You can imagine my surprise when I researched the Hebrew meaning for wait patiently. Perhaps you will be surprised as well. Wait patiently comes from the Hebrew transliterated word chuwl. Chuwl means to dance! Now that you have that word picture in your mind, chuwl’s meaning is actually more complex than that. Chuwl also means to writhe. More specifically: to writhe in pain and anguish. To wait patiently involves trembling, shaking, and quaking. Lastly, to wait patiently means to endure as you give birth to something.
I’ll be honest. I have experienced pain, anguish, trembling and hardship in the waiting periods of my life. I haven’t thought about dancing. The fact that David acknowledges these behaviors makes me feel like my God understands that waiting is not easy. Nonetheless, He still asks us to rest in the assurance of His love and care as we wait for the birth of something He has planned.
How do we do that?
We trust in the LORD and do good — we hold fast to Him and cultivate faithfulness.
We dwell in the LORD and enjoy safe pasture – we follow the Good Shepherd and rest in His care.
We delight ourselves in the LORD –Daily Everything Laid in His Hands Triumphantly
We commit our way to the LORD – we roll our burdens, cares, dreams and lives over to the LORD; letting them go.
We trust Him.
And as John and I wait for the LORD’s next set of directions for life and ministry, we’ll keep dancing in South Africa.