Monday, February 20, 2012

Patience in a World of "Now"- (Character Trait #7)

We live in a world  that has a vocabulary of "Now." Everything from texting, to fast food, to instant weight loss, to express mail. The world is screaming "Now, not later. I don't want to wait, I want what I want when I want it. ASAP. Instantly. Right now." And for the most part, we can function this way, at least in America.


It reminds me of Veruca Salt in the 1970's popular, albiet creepy movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." I can see the world functioning to the soundtrack of Veruca's hoity-toity British accent saying "Daddy, I want a Golden Egg and I want it now," complete with the Oompa Loompas singing in the background. 


(It's ok, You can laugh a little. I did in the middle of the coffee shop where I'm writing this blog)


Yeakley's chapter on patience is titled; "Patience: When God's timing doesn't fit your schedule."  


Yep! That title was a heart piercer to a "now" society citizen. Yeakley describes his own patience journey as a difficult growing period. It came as He and his wife anticipated visas for a mission placement overseas in Indonesia. They thought it would take 6 months. Instead, it took 3 years.

Yeakley states that in this time he learned that in waiting "God is teaching us that we are to run the race HE marks out for us, not the course we determine ourselves and then ask him to bless." Also, that God "places us in situations that seem to be detours to fulfilling our destiny in order to develop us into Christlike character necessary to the tasks He entrusts to us." This development of our character is far more important than our time tables in God's book.


  And how true is it that the best things in life are the most waited for? That in the long run, I'd rather wait on some things, than have it instantly. If we stop listening to the "Now" venacular of the world, and tune our ears to our great God, we can truthfully say "instant" doesn't always equal quality, and waiting, though not easy, often comes out with a better outcome than if we expressly created what we want. 

The trick is having patience in the waiting and to put trust in  God for his plan, not mine. I like this quote:


“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.” ~Anonymous.


In observing people's lives, I see waiting in many ways. Waiting in relationships. Waiting for "the one." Waiting for the wedding. Waiting for the pregnancy. Waiting for the baby. I've seen it in ministry in waiting for people to return to God. Waiting for character to develop. Waiting for people to know Jesus for the first time.

Even as  I think of my own journey in patience, Ive been challenged that God is not behind schedule. I think over the last 10ish years that I've prayed for a spouse, my heart has learned patience by recognizing that a husband is not the end all be all of life.  I am being developed for God's purposes in the world, which may or may not include marriage. Though extremely hard at times, this has been God's  tool to develop my patience. And I can honestly say, I am patiently being changed to be content in this. Not content, in that I never want to be married, but content that i don't want an "express" husband that is not the best I could have if I waited on God's timing. Shout out to the Supremes! Can I just agree with you? You were right. You can't hurry Love..I'll continue to wait with a trusting heart in a patient and planning God. Why? Because I am convinced that God's a better planner of my life than I am.  I am also convinced that my singleness is a choice to exercise patience, rather than creating something on my own clock.

Another point Yeakley makes is that we should not be discouraged in the waiting period. Rushing a harvest only results in bitter, immature, or unripe fruit. But waiting on the Lord for his timing, results in beauty, success, fulfillment and life. I think of that country song that says "There might be, a little dust on the bottle, don't let it fool you about what's inside...It's one of those things that gets sweeter with time." (David Lee Murphy) The point being, sometimes the best things in life come after waiting and with a perspective that the time was not wasted, but resulted in a sweeter, fuller life and gift.

So don't be discouraged in your waiting! Let the Lord develop patience in you, so you can look more like Him.  Actively seek the one that promises to be with you in the waiting. Know that the waiting is for our character and good, and that we are in a marathon not a sprint. Patience is a virtue and it results in better things than the world's express services has to offer.

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