Don’t Wait ~ by Stanton Lanier (Copyright 2012, not to be re-published without permission)
“If you’re waiting to do something with your spouse, don’t wait.” These words rocked my world in the final hour of a men’s weekend retreat in May 2008. Even if you’re not married, read on. All of us are waiting to do something. Maybe you’ve waited long enough.
The Souly Business retreat had brought several powerful moments. I thought I had experienced all that God was going to do. Then, during a talk titled Finishing Well these words cut straight to my heart. The speaker told a story about a very successful Texas chicken farmer, who had died suddenly from a heart attack. At his funeral service, his wife said, “If your waiting to do something with your spouse, don’t wait.”
Ever since 1995, for thirteen years, my wife and I had received a newsletter twice each year inviting us to consider a trip to Greece and Turkey. They were always mailed from the same couple who had led a group of twenty people, including us, on a spring 1995 pilgrimage to Israel. That experience was unforgettable. We had never seen the Bible come so alive and be confirmed so incredibly – geographically, archaeologically, and spiritually.
We knew Greece and Turkey would be just as amazing. It was called The Journey’s of Paul. The itinerary included Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, the island of Patmos where John wrote Revelation, Instanbul and much more. It just wasn’t practical. In the 1990s we both worked and it was just us. No kids. But from 1995 to 2005 our two children were born and an unexpected career curve ball was pitched to us. In 2004 I left a ten-year financial planning job to found Music to Light the World and become a full-time pianist and composer. Since then, our finances had been “just in time” with no surplus.
When the “don’t wait” words stirred my heart with such clarity, I sensed God whispering, “Take a leap of faith. Trust me. You’ve waited long enough. It’s time to do this thing with your wife. Go on the Greece-Turkey trip.” It was crazy from a worldly perspective. I would have to make a withdrawal from my IRA, paying a 10% penalty and income taxes on the entire amount. Yet, there I stood. After each talk there was a space for a few men to speak their mind. For the first time during the weekend I was telling eighty guys what had just happened. Apparently we were supposed to take this trip and not wait. But we were living month-to-month, and our only savings was in retirement accounts. And, I was a former financial planner and would be withdrawing the cost of the trip from my IRA (the room erupted with laughter at this point). Yes, God does have a sense of humor!
I have found when we move forward by faith, things start to line up. They don’t line up in advance. All the steps are not clear if we wait too long. But when we follow God’s nudges, He reveals things little by little. Like the $1,000 down payment toward our trip that was a gift from a complete stranger at the retreat, who heard my story and just “happened” to have been assigned the job of praying for me in secret the entire weekend. Like the fact that our parents’ schedules were open so they could stay at our house with the kids. It was stunning to witness all that took place. This story alone is one reason I live by faith in a God who loves us more than we can imagine. Even when life doesn’t make sense. Even when I have my doubts. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
What are you waiting to do? Don’t wait too long. Take a leap of faith.