The past month has been filled with new faces, places, challenges, delights and lessons. It is weird to think about the fact that I’ve been here for one entire month, but I am thankful indeed. I have one more month among these people in this land and I am excited to live. The LORD has shown Himself to me in ways that cause me to love Him more. I am learning to have patience in the process… patience in this story He is letting me take part in for some gracious and illogical reason.
Having grown up in a culture where “more, instead of “less” is what qualifies the way we define “more”… where “fast food” reigns over our lives… where the fastest way is the best way… where the mindset of “getting as much as you can for the minimum price” is eclipsing our mindset like poison ivy on skin.
I am prone to want the fast pass for everything. I want the fast pass for studying – for knowledge. I want the fast pass for editing photos. I want the fast pass for solitude and serenity. I want the fast pass for food when I’m hungry. I want the fast pass for salvation. I want the fast pass to freedom. I want the fast pass for health. I want the fast pass for cleanliness. I want the fast pass for traffic. I want the fast pass for coffee and tea. I want the fast pass to knowing God more intimately. I want the fast pass for my sanctification.
Woe is me! How dare I dethrone the God of patience and the Most Glorious Storyteller from the Lordship of my impatient soul. How dare I assume that simply because my culture is fast-paced and impatient, my God will change His beautiful, timeless character in order to cater my entitled way of thinking in which I have been conditioned. No. I must change (or rather allow HIM to change me) to meet His way of working… His way of loving… His way of seeking… His way of WAITING.
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
The coastlands hope for Him. Creation groans for Him. Why don’t we? We are impatient creatures…that’s why. Consumed with the here and now… All our emptiness is clothed in immediate pleasure… immediate satisfaction… immediate destinations… the tangible. (Whatever happened to looking not to what is seen but to what is unseen? Aka: Faith?)
But think of Genesis. God could have breathed out the entirety of creation in a split second if He pleased. He could have saved so much “time” if He would have just created everything right then and there…. right?
And what about Noah? Decades upon decades upon decades of building a boat and enduring mockery? Why didn’t God, in His power, just let the grand ole Ark fall from heaven and save Noah all that time and effort?
Or the Exodus. This one is my favorite to think about. It completely contradicts how I (foolishly and initially) imagine God to function in setting His captives free. He waits very long time to first off get ahold of Moses’ heart… even longer get the Israelites out of Egypt… even longer to get them to the Promise Land. And even longer than all of that combined to be patient with their fickleness (and ours) as they (and we) seek Him.
Think of Jericho. The Prophets. 400 years of silence. Jesus’ life. Jesus’ experience with raising Lazarus from the dead to name a few. (He waited TWO DAYS AFTER HEARING HIS BEST FRIEND DIED for cryin’ out loud). Jesus’ death. The hours on the cross He could have been spared from. (“IF you are God, get yourself down from there”). The three days in between. (He could have just risen immediately could have spared His disciples from so much agony. Ugh). And now… think of the present. We are waiting. For Jesus. For our Messiah to come again. And seemingly trying to rush rather than trust.
Why does God wait so often when He knows how much we need Him?
He is teaching me the answer to this annoying question that I ponder deep within my soul numerous times a day. Although I cannot truthfully tell you that I love the answer yet, He is warming me up to it. I believe He waits so often in spite of our impatience because He is teaching us to TRUST Him. He is teaching us to believe Him. He is teaching us to rid ourselves of our “Messiah tendencies.” We like to think we are in control… we like to think we can solve anything and everything – that we have a remedy for everything and everyone. That we can get the quick fix and all will be well.
But we are dreadfully mistaken.
We are the dust of dust… yet the apple of God’s eye. We think so highly of ourselves while standing utterly helpless. Like a styrofoam wall that looks to be standing strong. We must reckon ourselves dead and come to terms with the reality that we control nothing… not even our own breath.
One thing I love about the Brasilian culture is how it is “event oriented” rather than “time oriented.” This means the people care more (for the most part) about PEOPLE rather than time. The past year especially, I have fallen prey to the trap of what America defines as being time-efficient, productive, etc.
In the chaos of life and the busyness of a nineteen/twenty year old’s “hectic schedule,” (I’m laughing inside as I type that nonsense), I have seemingly forgotten to love people like Jesus did and does. He walked slowly through the crowd. He ate His food slowly as He conversed with the people He loved and had compassion for. He loved slowly and was patient as people walked with Him. Yes, of course they had faults that were not hidden from His sovereign, all-seeing eyes, but that did not turn Him away from them. He loved and stuck with the flawed ones. He loves and sticks with His flawed ones today… aka, me. Aka you. He is “slow to anger… abounding in steadfast love…” not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to salvation.”
We must remember the verse in Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the LORD.
In another path of my thought, I want to relay Jesus’ immediacy. Mark’s favorite word in His gospel. We see in various experiences and moments throughout Scripture, we read that He “immediately” did this or that. “At once” this or that happened… “Immediately” the fever left her. Immediately, he could see. There are numerous experiences revealing the great power of God that spared people from years of “waiting” and years of “agony.”
Although we get to believe God has the ability and the power to do whatever He pleases WHENEVER He please, we must also believe that He has the ability and power to love us through the waiting. To be with us even when we are convinced He is not. To reveal Himself to us slowly
The story of God is just that. A story. Who wants a brief, short story when you can have a beautiful, intricate, exhilarating, and captivating novel?
I remember reading to my little brother Hayden when he was little. He would choose a book, normally the Bernstein bears or Franklin. I remember nights that I was really tired and would skip over certain pages due to my longing for sleep. I don’t know how he did it as a six year old, but he would know instantly that I skipped pages and would whine until I went back and reread the pages I skipped over. (Sorry Hay) ;D
For the most part, novels are not consistently thrilling. There are boring moments. Agonizing moments. Frustrating moments. Stupid mistakes. But He promises that everything is beautiful in it’s time. No one wants an ending without a storyline. No one truly wants an easy mountaintop that cost you nothing. The agonizing, exhausting journey to the summit leaves you satisfied and strengthened as you think of how hard it was to get to the top. Think of Frodo and Sam. How much sweeter was the Rivendale awakening when they pondered the hardship of Mordor.
It reminds me of a quote I once heard, “the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.”
Be patient. He will always give us what we would have asked for if we knew all that He knows.
So… therefore… we can enjoy today. Enjoy the air in your lungs. Enjoy the food on your plate. Enjoy the coffee in your mug. Enjoy the sky. The texture of grass on your finger tips. The walk to dinner. The drive to the store. The conversation with a friend or stranger. The quietness of a still moment. Literally stop to smell flowers.
Press into the hurt… the pain… the wound. Don’t run. Believe He is present in it and is molding you… for “we are His workmanship.” Not His ramen noodles in the microwave of existence.
I think I could write for ages on this topic… only because it’s become one of my deepest struggles that I can only begin to “master” (if I can even use that word) by the Spirit of the living God in me.
Remember to think of eternity… ponder the significance of our labor in light of heaven and hell.
And TRUST Him, O soul. Trust Him O readers. Trust Him all peoples.
For the joy set before Him…
For the joy set before us… we hope. We wait. For HIM.