Patience for patience’s sake is no good

I do not know how to be patient merely for the sake of being patient. But I do know how to set my heart on Christ because I am impatient — and I cannot endure without Him becoming central to my heart — and watching patience supernaturally spring up from a heart that has found true and lasting contentment.


A God this good must be every-day!

In everything You do Your love for me is revealed. I can’t believe You love me this much. That whatever You do in my life, I may receive it as the next big, undeserved gift that will bring You closer to me in conscience-ness and relationship and understanding.

Tweak my dreams, Lord — You know they are the seat of my heart

Sometimes God tweaks our dreams. We don’t always get it in the beginning — He is questioning our loyalty to ideas that are very important; ideals that make up who we have been for some time.

But, maybe it’s okay to let them go to God if He has other plans. Plans that fit more with who I am according to my identity in Him than the more familiar identifications I have with things other than Him. Things I don’t need for life — either in the sense of existence or endurance.

Christ is essentially my life-support. I don’t have anything without Him, yet with Him everything I have is up for disposal. If you’re in the process, as am I, of God tweaking your dreams (what you thought you had to have) you may be wondering why He ever let you dreams these things in the first place — especially when you thought they were congruent with following God.

I’m asking God that right now. There are a lot of things that I don’t understand yet, but I know He’s wise enough to know things that I can’t understand on my own. I will trust Him to reveal to me what He knows in His time.

I can’t say what would make my life a success. I think I know indefinitely, and then God shows me His plan and what I’ve been thinking suddenly seems to have no place — even if it is more comprehensible to me.

But I don’t want to follow my plans simply so I can set my eyes on the outcome I think is best, I want to lay them at my Masters feet so that I can have room enough to hold His very heart in my hands. His heart is in His plans and I don’t want to miss. So, even while I don’t fully understand it all, I plan on diving right in so that God knows I’m set on finding out what He’s got to show me!

Pray, and then get busy waiting

So, I prayed. I told God what I wanted and how I would like to have it. Then I told Him I don’t really know what is best for me and I would like to have His best if He would give it to me. That was some time ago, but it’s still true. I am reminded quite often of new ways that I need to make this my prayer when I get impatient about it being fulfilled.

I didn’t used to think that waiting was much fun. In fact, I have often thought it would kill me — at least if it took too long to my thinking. But waiting has changed me. Knowing that God has good for me even when nothing appears to be changing on the surface has opened wide my soul rather than closed it. I need to be open to God who fills me with His goodness as apposed to being closed up and left to myself.

Waiting has made me anxious to know what God wants. I strain for my will until I nearly break — only then do I realize that I don’t want to be broken by what God doesn’t want for me. If I’ve asked for something good, and He tells me to wait, it not a problem unless I make it that. He is offering to build my character and enhance my ability to love and trust Him in all manner of conditions.

I’m not always willing to have this happen, so granted this work includes struggle and strain. But, I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was a blessing — one of the greatest that God has ever given me. I am forced to wait on Him, not because I am being held back from living, but because their is so much living to do from right where I am. I need to get to know my Father better, I need to cultivate a richer relationship with Him, I need to grasp with all my heart the reality that I am in my Savior’s hands and nothing can separate me from His love.

Now, of course, this is not something that can be accomplished in a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months, but whatever years I have, they will be devoted to this. I will wait on my Lord all the days of my life, for it is in Him that my delight and comfort will forever dwell. And while I wait I am not languishing over things that I don’t have, I am being challenged to drink deeply of the living water that I do have.

Waiting is not the same as wanting — there is a world of difference between them that cannot be fully represented by the substitution of a single letter. Waiting reduces my indifference and resistance to God’s ways. It opens me up to bigger plans than I have dared to live for — plans I wouldn’t consider if it weren’t for my God’s persistence. He does not do more to me than I can bear, He does not hold me back from more than I need; instead He sometimes chooses to straiten my circumstances so He can widen the circumference of my joy in walking with Him.

Why God makes sense

There is no part of life that God is not capable and eager to help us persevere through. There is nothing in our experience that He has not planned out, or chosen to work towards His purposes even if we have chosen what is contrary to His expressed will.

There is freedom in knowing the sovereignty of God is consistent with everyday life and its problems. There is peace in finding God unconfused and yet full of compassion for us when we are. There is joy in believing that we have hope — a hope so strong that it will hold us up even when we grieve the things we are unwilling to surrender to His Lordship.

I like to have joy in full, but not the suffering in full that often sets the backdrop. How unseemly it feels to me for my weakness to be so shamelessly projected through a trial. Unless I have the faith-filled sight that skips beyond this fact to a bigger one: a trial is a gift from God that is suited to Him in such a strong way that inclines us to be suited to Him too.

I don’t mean to be overly sentimental — but it is belief in God’s knowing-ness even while we know nothing that keeps us in exactly the vein we need to be to see all how good God when much in our life is just plain bad. God is not afraid of bad, instead He harnesses the fruit of evil and turns it into seeds that will bear out His patience with mankind.

We think it is horrible if anything has to die, but evil fruit must pass away to scatter the seeds of God’s own fruit. We can’t trust our own instincts when it comes to what must die because we are wired by sin to be unperceptive to what is evil. But God can absolutely be trusted to know evil and effectively deliver us — even allowing for the time that it takes us to surrender to His way and learn that it is best because it is without error.

And just why aren’t God’s plans supposed to work?

God has informed me about some of His plans — plans for me and my life; plans that make clear to me what He wants and how capable He is of steering my life in the way that is best for me.

I love these plans, but sometimes it seems like they are so good that they couldn’t possibly come true — not for me anyway, and not anytime soon. I don’t know why I feel the need to protect myself from what God wants to give me.

I look around at what I have and am amazed and grateful at what He has done to redeem me through struggles. Maybe my problem is that I would like God to guarantee that He will redeem my life along with me, but is this possible?

What comes with redeeming? Do think there is not pain in this? Do I think it has not been offered to me at a cost and received at a cost? Is this gift not worth sacrifice and grief? If it trumps what I could have without it; indeed, disables my pain by confronting it, can I not deal with the pressure that comes with it?

Do I think it  is possible for pain to be in God’s hands — to assault Him and then touch me through Christ — without a purpose? Is it not a weak deliverance if pain disappears as though it were nothing; as though God allowed it though it would have cost Him nothing to relieve us of it?

Maybe if relief comes to us His way we will have it forever as well as be able to enjoy it now. Could I enjoy relief — enjoy Him — if the pain He took upon Himself (our pain) were not so severe, so straining, so sobering?

If what He does in us were not so strange and impossible for us to pass through alone, would  we ever have a need to look at Him and discover how He first handled our sorrows and rejoice that He has reached the end of them?

Are good things allowed to feel bad too?

I don’t know about you, but I like when everything is exactly as it should be — at least as I calculate it. I am not too comfortable when there are obstacles and unexpected and painful occurrences. When I feel like I have everything in control, when I think I look like I am doing a good job at the work I have before me, this is when I think life is most worthy of that coveted “good” title.

Yet, there are plenty of days when these standards I have are questioned. Do I really need to have myself at the center of my understanding of God’s perfection in planning the life I live? Does my goals of personal perfection really have a place on the scales that weigh God’s mercies? Not unless my failure to promote God in them bears down on the side of my unworthiness.

It’s okay if God’s mercy makes me more aware of my own sin — what He did in displaying it wouldn’t mean much if it didn’t have any real reason. If my debt to Him wasn’t a reality, I would have no compulsion to return to Him whom I have tried to rationalize away my need for.