Jane and I waited for the last bus out of downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. We had just moved there from the States to do missionary work so I had my passport with me in a large purse I carried at my side. It was dusk and we were getting anxious to get back to our friends’ house before nightfall. The bus should have been there already.
I was starting to worry, “Did we miss it?” Jane answered, “I don’t think so, but maybe the buses don’t run regularly, so I don’t really know.” We waited longer. We were the only ones waiting, which made it scarier because we didn’t have anyone to ask. What we did next was really foolish.
Our impatience prompted us to move. We went down the street to another bus stop closer in the direction of home. We waited there impatiently until we couldn’t take it anymore and we moved down the street again. We did this three times, getting further and further away from the more populated area. The sun was going down and we were getting more worried now—new country, unfamiliar ways, alone on an empty street and no bus in sight. Then Jane spotted a young black African man coming our way.
He got about halfway down the block and bolted toward us. Jane had seen him but all I saw was a blur. She jumped in front of me, grabbed me with both arms around the middle, as I clutched my purse to my chest. The guy hesitated, then ran past us a ways. He stopped and continued to walk slowly down the street as if nothing unusual had happened at all.
Jane gently loosened her grip on me and I relaxed my clenched fists but my heart was still racing and we were both hyperventilating. When we settled down and started to breathe a little easier, in quivering voices we begged God to get the bus there soon.
In just a few minutes it pulled up—the very last bus leaving the city. For the next three years of living in Johannesburg, we stayed much more alert and aware of our surroundings and prayed about everything.
God wasn’t the one who told us to move down to the next bus stop. We should have just stayed where we were, but we let our impatience drive us into trouble.
How many times have each of us acted impatiently, recklessly setting out in a direction of our own choosing, without really consulting the Lord? Proverbs 21:2 tells us: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” But Luke 21:19 tells us: “In your patience possess ye your souls.” Patience stops to ask for the Lord’s input and acts deliberately, not foolishly.
My impatience nearly got my purse stolen, along with my money and passport. Impatience gets us to make mistakes, waste time, get into arguments and so many other things that we’re sorry for later. Proverbs 20: 22 tells us: “Wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.” One important way He saves us is to give us His wisdom. Don’t be fretful and hasty like we were. Wait on the Lord.
Check out some of my other great stories that give you lessons to live by. WINGS book and booklets :