It is a chilly Monday morning and I stand with hundreds of others waiting for the busses we have just seen depart to return so they can also shuttle us from a parking lot near the finish line of this MLK Day parade to our designated location near its starting point. A half hour later the wait continues. The crowd is in a low boil, concerned we will not be in our staging area on time for the beginning of the parade. A tall man leads a few others wearing the same t-shirt, their uniform for the march, to peel off from the impatient mob; I hear him declare they are walking to the staging area. They are out of sight within the few seconds it takes my opinion of his decision to evolve from absurdity (they might as well walk toward the moon), to curiosity (surely we have an obligation to follow instructions and wait for the shuttles), to realization (we are about to walk the route to here so obviously it is walkable from here), to admiration (I wish I had his initiative). Within a minute I am glad I didn’t take the initiative: the shuttles show up, we load up, and we arrive at our staging area just in time to wait idly for 3 hours until we finally begin to march. I exaggerate not.

Sometimes it is important to take the initiative, to quit using the lion in the street as justification for swinging back and forth unmoved from volitional lethargy (Proverbs 26:13-14). Who knows when the next opportunity will shuttle us along in God’s plan? Other times it is important to wait patiently for the shuttle. Job waits for justice like farmers wait for later rains (James 5:7-11).

For all the angst of our crowd, we probably arrive at the staging area about the same time as those who left on foot. And, as it turns out, aside from representing our college in the parade’s march (which is never actually in jeopardy), the most important part of the day is the 3 hours getting to know better and admire more the people with whom the Lord has me waiting. “… If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that…” (James 4:13-17).

This week, may we realize the faith that prompts us to wait patiently or act intentionally is more important than the choice between the two.