I dreamt I was driving. I stopped the car and got out. It was a familiar area and it was dark. I started running. I was extremely anxious. I felt lost and confused. I ran into someone. I woke up in a sweat, still feeling the anxiety and confusion. I immediately called out to the Holy Spirit, asking, “what was that about”? As I calmed down and quietened my mind, I heard the still small voice (1 Kings 19: 11-13), the dream “is a warning…this is what you are like when you go ahead without me …you have to become still and wait on me to lead you”. I did not fully grasp the meaning nor the reality of being still and waiting on Lord (Psalm 46:10; Exodus 14:14; Psalm 37:7). I therefore went back to sleep.
The previous night, I had a very heated prayer or conversation with the Holy Spirit about my unhappiness about my situation and that I wanted my circumstances to change now. Because…this is not working for me. My biggest complaint was that I could not see anything and I desperately wanted to know what was going happen to me.
For a while now, I have been praying about something that I desperately needed. I was elated when I thought my prayer was answered. When, I realised that what I thought was an answer to a prayer, fell through, I was completely devastated. At the time, I was convinced that this was my only way out and my only option. I had to make a decision, was I going to wait or was going to make my next move? A friend and I prayed about my situation and she told me that I should become still and wait on the Lord. I did not tell her about my dream. “Okay…” I said, even though I still couldn’t grasp what being still and waiting is. Maybe because I am such a hustler and constantly strategizing and scheming my next move. Manipulating the situation. I’m from the Cape Flats, so life was tough and you had to learn to survive very quickly. Also, I worked in a clothing factory, now I am an admitted attorney with a Master’s degree in Commerce specialising in trade law and policy. Although I believe God directed me, I realise that I did so much putting in my own effort, causing me much stress and strife. Even though I was a reborn Christian, I was self-reliant with serious trust issues.
When I got home, I prayed again and looked up all the scriptures related to waiting and what happens if you don’t wait. The research was overwhelmingly in favour of waiting on the Lord. Not waiting on the Lord and doing my own thing, meant that I didn’t have faith and that I didn’t trust God. I knew that it was impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). And faith required me to trust God and not lean on my own reasoning or understanding (Proverbs 3: 5-6). Now faith is defined as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Despite knowing what the Word said, I was inconsolable, discouraged and devastated. In my mind, I truly believed that I had come to the end of the road. I realise now that this was not true. Clearly, I did not trust God and my fledgling faith was at an all-time low. Trying to sleep and crying at the same time, I realised that whenever I closed my eyes, I saw a vision of Jesus sitting at the end of my bed, smiling at me. I knew in my spirit it was Him. Sitting at the end of my bed in a white robe with a glow around Him. Peaceful and calm…as if to say, everything is going to be okay. At the time, I was so focused on my problem that I couldn’t appreciate that Jesus was with me in my darkest moment. I woke a few times in the night, but was able to fall asleep as I knew He was with me and I was not alone. This comforted me and gave me a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
The next Sunday, the message was about Saul and David. Samuel gave Saul an instruction to wait for him, however, because things started looking bad, Saul caved and did the unthinkable (1 Samuel 13: 7-14). The consequence was that his kingdom was not established forever. David on the other hand, had on opportunity to end Saul’s life, but chose to trust and obey God (1 Samuel 13: 7-14). And his Kingdom was established forever. Clearly my earthly actions and decisions have eternal consequences.
I understand why Saul acted the way he did. He was not sure about who God was and who he was in God. The truth is, I was like Saul…saying I trust God, but usually doing things on my own or in my own strength. Probably, because I liked being in control of my own life.
I feel like I missed an opportunity in worshipping, or just sitting quietly and basking in the presence of the Christ. Instead, my attention was focused on my problem. The one thing I do take away from this, is that in my darkest hour, Jesus was with me. Just like He was with Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego in the fire (Daniel 3). As I walk through this valley, I know I am not alone. Whatever I am going to face, He’ll be with me. I’m learning to become still and quiet as I wait to hear and be led by the Holy Spirit. Learning to trust Him, even though I can’t see (Hebrews 11:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7).
Zelna Jansen is the Executive Director of Zelna Jansen Consultancy, a lobbying and advocacy firm with the aim of bringing people together to find solutions and helping people to have a more effective conversation with their law- and policy-makers.
She is an admitted attorney of the High Court, with an especially keen interest in public policy, trade law and constitutional law. She has a Bachelor of Arts (prelaw), a Bachelor of Laws and a Masters of Commerce degree specialising in trade law and policy. Through her volunteerism in leading roles in several organisations she actively engages the community and social spirit necessary to continue to uplift many in South Africa today.