As a kid, I never had earaches or ear infections. In the past year I’ve had two. So yesterday when my ear started throbbing and swelling shut yet again, I did what any sane person would do on a day when the doctor’s office was closed. I took a clove of garlic, peeled it, smooshed it a little, soaked it in olive oil, and stuck it in my ear. Between the soothing sensation of the oil and the burn of the garlic juices, something beneficial must have been happening. Thank goodness for kitchen-pantry healers on the web.
Now I’m not saying the earache went away nor am I recommending this aromatic procedure, but at least I was doing something. The wait until my doctor’s appointment on Monday seemed interminable. I wanted a remedy and I wanted it fast. But WAIT. Aren’t there all kinds of encouragements in the Bible for waiting?: “but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NRSV)
My struggle between waiting and acting is ongoing. Waiting can be disastrous, but so can acting. Do I speak when I have an unsolicited solution to other people’s problems or keep my mouth shut and wait until they find their own way? Do I rush into a new job because I’m afraid another one will never come along or do I wait until a call is clear? Do I wait to replace the washer until it completely self-destructs or buy a new one on sale for a huge savings now? Do I try some quick, crackpot remedy for an earache or wait for a more official cure later? I don’t know. I usually only know in retrospect whether or not I’ve acted or waited well.
In most incidents my urgency to get a quick fix must seem foolish to the timeless eyes of God. But there are times when acting or waiting is crucial. I pray my spiritual ears will be open enough to listen to whichever option the “still small voice” of God might be encouraging me to do.