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Patience and Waiting

I can’t simply will myself to do all things without grumbling or complaining, as it is written in Philippians 2:14.  It is not enough to simply want to be more content or tell myself to cheer up; I need to cultivate a practice of meeting Christ in those small moments of grief, frustration, or anger in the ordinary day. At a time when one of my children was in their early 20s, we had a falling out. In anger one time, she loudly declared the only good thing I had done as a parent was to guide her to God and Jesus. While she meant that statement to sting, it instead gave such resounding comfort, peace, and joy. It allowed me to rest and place our relationship, her heart, and her future in HIs hands. And while I don’t agree that it is the only good thing I did as a parent, it is the best thing I did with each of my kids, and I am content with that.

I find perspective in what Tish Harrison Warren said in her book: Liturgy of the Ordinary – “Everydayness is my problem. It is easy to think about what we’d do in wartime, if a hurricane blows through, if your guy wins the election, or if you won the lottery or bought the thing you really wanted.  It’s a lot more challenging to figure out how you are going to get through today without despair. ” Sometimes, going to the Word and praying can feel empty, dry – in the everydayness of our lives.

So how should I respond when the Word is perplexing, bland, or unappealing? When my prayers seem like they bounce off the ceiling and I am feeling isolated? I keep listening and learning. I  keep waiting on God to give me what I need to sustain me one more day. God’s word is a gift that has been set before me. I become shaped, often imperceptively, by his word, in the waiting, in pressing forward.

I find moments of sanctuary in my daily life, moments when wonder scoots up next to me with a nudge. In this quiet moment, I remember how well I am provided for. This quiet moment, cupping a mug of hot coffee, is a moment of sanctuary in every sense and a place of worship as I look to God in awe of who he is and all he has done. Shalom – Peace is the absence of strife and the restoration to wholeness. We become agitated and frustrated if we allow ourselves to be cemented in impatience. Refocusing our circumstances on God’s sovereignty through prayer reminds us of who he is and who we are in him. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5) It restores our shalom in him. It gives way for hope.

“The singular mark of patience is not endurance or fortitude but hope. To be impatient is to live without hope. Patience is grounded in the resurrection. It is a life oriented to a future that is God’s doing, and its sign is longing, not so much to be released from the ills of the present but in anticipation of the good to come.” (Father Tertullian)

Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength….'”

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