“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and springs rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” ~ James 5:7-8
“Do not fret…” ~ Psalm 37
“All we need is just a little patience.” ~ Axl Rose, Guns & Roses
Yeah, so, “a little patience” doesn’t nearly seem to cut it! Really, I just wanted to quote Guns & Roses in a blog post :). Moreso, the words below from Psalm 6 which I read this past Saturday morning seem appropriate.
“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint…
I am worn out from groaning…” ~ Psalm 6:2, 6
“My patience runneth over–I am sick of this, I might as well just quit and do something else and stop this waiting! Nothing’s happening!” are all things I yelled and wailed to myself as well as God this past Friday evening as my frustration peaked. I had just emerged from my room after trying to get as much sleep as possible before my overnight shift. My sleep was interrupted, my wife had to work late again, little food was left from supper, I learned that some things with the kids and their cousins were chaotic while I slept and grandma was watching them, grandma also had to get supper ready amidst everything, and there was still complaining going on and it was quite a trial to give one of our kids a bath. These days I don’t mind having somewhat of a drive to work so I can breathe, collect myself, and talk to God on the way in.
In short, I said to God, I’ve about mustered all the patience I can muster. Although, I guess more is still in order as I still can’t expect things to change overnight. It seems never ending. Every day I sigh about 100 times over and stifle away frustration, angst, and impatience.
Not much seems to change from day to day. I tire of opening my email account hoping to see new email alerts of job opportunities or checking certain websites to basically no avail. Each day seems to bear disappointment. I have no idea even how our lives might be manageable when/if I find more work considering our kids’ own schedules and my wife’s already busy schedule with her new job. Sigh!… Sigh!… There are also things I believe I’ve heard God say to me over these past 15 months (I sometimes read them over in my journal), but not a one of them have seemed to come to pass. Has it all really just been only my own heart yearnings that I’ve heard?
Towards the beginning of this journey for me someone shared a definition of patience that seemed to hit the nail on the head. He called it “the spreading out of wrath” (or anger, frustration, or annoyance), and I really couldn’t have said it better myself. He then quoted Psalm 118:5 to go with it–“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.” It’s like God lifts us up out of somewhere and places us where our frustrations, anger, angst, and yearnings have room to spread out and not be altogether overbearing and yet at the same time be contained as well. Also, God places us somewhere where we are protected, provided and cared for, able to breathe and depend on him, etc, and I’ve definitely experienced that in different ways in the past 15 months.
Things do get tiring though, and don’t they have to change at some point?
Then I think of others who have had to patiently wait as well either from the Bible (i.e. Abraham & Sarah, Joseph, Job, David, etc) as well as friends and family who have endured much. Sometimes this frustrates me more… God, do you see any of this? Are you doing anything? Why? Other times it puts things in perspective as who am I to experience anything different than anyone else. Many of them, I’d say, deserve something better much more than I do.
Then there’s this passage that is similar to Psalm 118:5 from above… “[God] reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me… the Lord has been my support. He brought me out into a broad/spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” ~ Psalm 18:16-19
That puts things in even greater perspective, doesn’t it? All of this and anything at all is all because the Lord greatly and deeply delights in us, in YOU!
This draws me back to a verse from Lamentations 3:32 that Eugene Peterson translates in the Message bible, “Though [God] works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.”
All of this helps me put forth still yet a little more patience, and trust, and gratitude, and awe. I am able to breathe, and my soul spreads out and is put to rest once again (Psalm 116:7). I’ll close with these words from Psalm 37…
“Do not fret… Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; (once again) do not fret…” ~ Psalm 37:1a, 3-7a