In recent months, God has been teaching me many lessons, some easier to learn than others. I can tell you that he has been so faithful in fulfilling his promises to never leave me during what have been extremely difficult times. I have watched in awe as he has made the impossible possible. He has taken broken things and has made them whole again. When I have needed encouragement, he has placed the right people in my path at just the right moment. Unexpected surprises have appeared from nowhere, leaving me warm, safe, and humbled.
I have not withheld my praise on how he has been moving in my life. It is through his strength that I wake to each new day and find the will to get out of bed when my flesh tells me not to. As I step into each new day, there are constant reminders of where he has brought me from, and glimpses of where he wants me to go. I have been truly blessed by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and have been compelled to share my praise with anyone who will listen.
Feeling like I had reached a place where I felt as if I were being highly favored, God has brought me back down a peg or two after showing me another area where I have fallen terribly short, and that is my lack of patience. At the peak of my ‘spiritual high’, I have been shown how very weak I am in the patience department. I can try to blame it on our fast-paced lives with our modern conveniences making our every need available within minutes of our requests. I can try to fool myself into thinking I have worked extremely hard for something when I know in my heart I really haven’t, at least not all the time.
As I’m writing this, I am struggling because I have questions and I want immediate answers. So far, the answers have not come. I can feel my anxiety levels rise by the tension I am feeling in my neck muscles. I am having to breathe in a little deeper, to increase the airflow to my lungs, again, trying to relax as I wait for those answers. I have no other choice but to ask myself, “Am I really that spoiled that I cannot even wait for answers I know will come eventually?” For me, my lack of patience is the same as having a lack of trust. A lack of trust is a lack of faith. And my faith is everything to me.
My mind goes back to the Bible story about Abraham, or Abram as he was known at the time. He and his wife Sarai waited for a son to call their own until they were well into their 90’s. Can you imagine? We complain because we must wait an extra five minutes for a large mocha latte at Starbucks. I think of Moses leading the children of Israel through the desert for forty years. Moses remained obedient to God’s commands, amid the constant grumbling from the unbelieving generation until they no longer existed. And what about Jesus as he prayed the night before his impending crucifixion? He asked his disciples to sit and pray for just one hour as he went off by himself to pray alone. They weren’t even capable of waiting and praying as our Lord poured his heart out to the Father, asking if the cup he was about to drink could be taken from him.
In more recent times, I think of early American settlers who ventured out west to start a new life. What took these pilgrims weeks and months to travel, we can do within a day in a vehicle…even less if we fly. I think of the women who had to spend days, weeks, and months alone, out in the prairies taking care of their farms and gardens, their children, and any other dangers that came from living in a strange new land. I can read a “Little House” book by Laura Ingalls Wilder in a day if I wish, but her life took years to unfold, to be condensed into stories that can be shared in short snippets of time. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century, but God knows I am such a wimp when it comes to waiting and probably wouldn’t have lasted a week in an earlier time. He knows what he’s doing much better than I do.
During both World Wars, and the Korean and Vietnam wars, letters from home took months to arrive. Soldiers would wait and wait for a few comforting words from home. On the flip side, a young man’s very life may have been sacrificed, but the mother or wife may not have heard of it for weeks, long after their loved one was buried. That is patience in the most extreme set of circumstances.
Oh Father, please forgive me for being so impatient. Please help me hold on to each one of these days that I am required to wait and wonder, to learn more about what you want me to know about you. Please help me understand that to everything there is a season, a time, and a purpose under heaven*. Please help me live by example, so those who are looking to me for guidance and instruction, will learn to see that anything worthwhile takes time and patience. Please help me be content where I am, right now, with what I have.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV)
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace.
Oh yes, you know I had to…
Not My Will
Couldn’t you watch and wait one hour?
Jesus said to his men.
Embarrassed and ashamed, they hung their heads,
As he left them to pray again.
His heart was heavy, they all could tell,
So determined, they sat up to wait.
But their flesh was weak, and they slept again,
While Jesus wrestled his fate.
Father, my Father, let this cup pass from me.
Not mine, but Your will be done.
His anguish and dread of what was to come,
Was too much for the flesh of God’s son.
The sweat from his brow fell like drops of blood,
And landed on the ground like rain.
Jesus, the Divine, knew it would be okay,
Jesus, the man, was afraid of the pain.
He stood and wiped the sweat from his face.
The Father’s strength and his purpose restored.
“It is time to do what I was sent here to do,”
So continued the fate of our Lord.
He returned to those sleeping, but they awoke
When they saw Judas and the soldiers appear.
With the seal of a kiss, Jesus was bound and taken,
And the sleepy ones scattered in fear.
The rest of the story can be read in the pages,
Of God’s Word, if you choose to seek.
But the moral of this story is all too simple;
The heart is willing, but the flesh is weak.
LJH May 9, 2013 ©