Are You Listening to the Guide?

by Nancy Kay Grace

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NIV

I’ll admit it—waiting is hard. I don’t like waiting in line at the checkout, the doctor’s office, for test results, or for Christmas. We get impatient and take a different street if there’s a red light. We look for the shorter line at the toll booth.

Some things are better if we wait. The flavors of a stew blend when we wait for it to be done. We appreciate things more if we wait for then to finish.

Although waiting requires effort, we can learn to give thanks for the discipline of waiting.

My husband, Rick, and I took a few days away so he could go fly fishing with a guide. The river was so clear that trout were easily spotted under the surface. The guide watched and pointed them out. We waited for the right time to cast. On our own, we didn’t have any success catching fish. The guide watched our mistakes, and then taught us what to do.

He stood behind Rick’s shoulder and instructed him in a quiet voice on how and where to cast the fly. Rick cast the line fifteen feet out in the water, it floated down to the fish, and the fish bit on it! The fish swam downstream to get free, but succeeded in setting the hook.

Rick and the guide worked together for longer than five minutes. The guide walked downstream with a net, far enough that he came upon the fish and captured it in the net. Together they landed the eight-pound rainbow trout.

Catching the trout was a combination of waiting, watching the surroundings, and then then taking appropriate action.

When it was my turn, I cast incorrectly, landing the fly in tree branches. “Be patient. You need to pause at the right time to cast,” the guide said in a quiet voice. If I wanted success, I had to listen to the guide.

With his hand on my reel, he helped me wait. We watched where the fish were, and then took action. I cast and the fish bit on it! I jerked on the rod but the fish got away. I felt defeated. The next try, I waited for the right moment to cast and I landed the trout.

The guide said “be patient” many times, but I kept casting the line instead of letting it float. Waiting and watching preceded action. When the guide stood next to me, he spoke quiet instructions. By listening to the guide, I had success on our fly-fishing excursion.

Waiting and listening to Jesus, our Guide, is a good thing. It gives us time to watch our surroundings and know when to take action. We can see how the Lord is at work and join in. If we get impatient and rush ahead of the Lord’s timing, we get frustration.

In his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster makes this observation on waiting. “In waiting we get in touch with the rhythms of life—stillness and action, listening and decision.”

The Psalmist also encourages us in Psalm 27:14 with “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV).

Waiting is hard. We can give thanks for the discipline of waiting. When we wait, watch, and listen to the Lord, our heavenly Guide, we will make progress at the right time.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is the speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about God’s grace. Her website, blog, and GraceNotes newsletter sign-up are found at www.nancykaygrace.com. As a cancer survivor, she writes about hope, perseverance, and God’s grace. Nancy enjoys hugs from grandchildren, playing worship songs on piano, hiking, and travel.

Join the conversation: What have you learned in the waiting?

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2 thoughts on “Are You Listening to the Guide?

  1. Oh my, Nancy Kay, that one really got me. I do remember my dad trying to show me how to cast and wait. How I wish I would have been more in the moment and realize the memories and lessons were more important than the fish.

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  2. I love your analogy! Even made me want to fish for trout and I don’t like to fish, but I love to eat rainbow trout! Foster’s book is my favorite book on prayer. Thanks for the reminder—I need to start reading it again.

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