Patience

Got Abrahamed?

Got Abrahamed?

The past few months have been eventful for the Day family. At the beginning of the year, we were approached with an expatriate opportunity in a Southeast Asian country. Approached, mind you, we did not seek this out. The transfer promised a promotion, a slew of enticing benefits, an invaluable addition of acquired skills, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel Asia.

After many prayers for guidance and direction, we took a leap of faith, plunging in with the confidence for God to align the outcome according to His will. Next thing we knew, I passed the application and interviews and I was accepted as a qualified candidate, contingent on the country’s governmental approval.

Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever

This month I had the amazing opportunity to embark on my first ever trip to the Smoky Mountains with my family– all planned within the week prior. It was one of those “It’s time to get away, let’s go do this,” moments. Plus it checked off a box on my bucket list to visit all the national parks in the United States (barely started). So I looked up cabin rentals on Google – found a solid one with American Patriot Getaways (highly recommend them, can’t praise them enough), booked it, and off we went.

The game plan was to break up the trip by spending the night in Birmingham on the way to Gatlinburg. This was about a 5 hour journey and approximately half way for us. Instead, we made it to Meridian, Mississippi – a whopping hour and a half away.

Playing the Waiting Game

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I’m struggling with impatience. Thunderous impatience so big, fat, and obvious that I did not even notice it throwing a screaming tantrum right in front of my face. See, I usually think of patience in terms of waiting to find out what’s behind the wrapping paper of a Christmas present. I pride myself on how long I can patiently wait for a new toy. I could go weeks – months even! Thus, I know I am completely justified when I quickly mark the box for “patience” on my fruits of the Spirit checklist. “Yup, no problem here!” I think with a smug smile.

Yet, it is this very area where I have been failing massively for the past couple of years. What I have been failing to notice, is my insatiable demand for major life progress to occur now.

A few years ago, God entrusted to me a seed. Not a vision. A seed. I wouldn’t even say a seed of a vision. More like, a seed of a seed of a seed of a vision. As time rolls by, I find myself frustrated for not seeing the tree yet. It is not long before my pride overtakes me and I try to grow the plant myself, steamrolling ahead in fifty different directions with the assumption that at least one of those paths has got to be right.

Of course, like every “good Christian,” I make sure to bring my life decisions before the Lord (sometimes first, mostly as an afterthought). After all, I have memorized Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Ok great, got it! But what if He is silent? What if – no matter the number of prayers – there is no answer on the way forward? I certainly can’t speak for everybody and every situation (and I am not implying that this is always the case) – but I have slowly begun to acknowledge that perhaps He hasn’t shed a light on my next footstep yet because maybe, just maybe, it’s not time for me to march ahead yet. Maybe He wants me to do that dreaded four letter word…wait.

The request wouldn’t be out of His character. Elijah waited for God for years while he lived in the wilderness, eating food brought to him by ravens.[1]   Abraham waited 25 years for his promised heir to be born.[2]

Though disheartening to think of living in frustration for that long, waiting patiently for God can encourage other people in their faith. Psalm 40 attests to this:

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalms 40:1-3 NLT

Of course, knowing and embracing are two different beasts. If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of hearing “wait on the Lord, wait on the Lord.” Yeah, ok I get it, fine (cue eyeroll now). I must constantly remind myself that He is a King and I am a subject. If He tells me to wait, so I shall do because He is a good king, a just king, and He is always right.  The alternative could be disastrous – I may not fail in my plans immediately but as a flawed human being I am destined for it. There is only one that can grant guaranteed victory.

“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.” Psalms 62:1

Funnily enough, since acknowledging my impatience, the Holy Spirit broke its silence to remind me that I never actually finished my last task of writing the book I felt called to write. I finished a rough draft, dusted off my hands, and asked “Ok, what’s next?” No wonder I heard crickets.

So, I will continue doing what I am doing, waiting patiently for God to direct my next steps. Whether the “victory” matches my expectations or not, if the outcome is that “many will see what he has done” and “put their trust in the Lord” that seems like a darn good enough reason to me.

 

- Nicolas C. Day

 

[1] 1 Kings 17

[2] http://www.christianshepherd.org/bible_study_guides/abram_to_the_exodus/abram_to_the_exodus.pdf

 

 

 

 

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