I meet you. We talk…a little. I want a friend, and not just a casual see-you-once-a-week type of friend. I want a relationship where we can talk seriously about things that matter, where we can talk about problems in the world and how to approach them, where we can understand each other and have regard for each other. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, I want you to. I realize that this level of friendship isn’t possible the very day (and hour) that we meet. It takes patience for this relationship to grow into something beautiful and fruitful.
I help with a kid’s program at my church once a week. For these kids who have a background so different from mine, I want to see them saved, growing in grace, and spreading the fragrance of Christ to the people that they will be around. Right now. But the result isn’t going to be now, all at once. It takes patience, and He isn’t done with His good work.
God has been showing me about a new kind of patience. I used to think of patience as a passive quality or as something that knows what the result will be.
Patience to get to the occasion that’s only two days away now.
Patience to accomplish the goal and receive the reward.
This new kind of patience—I don’t know the outcome. I want both to know and to see the outcome. Now. The biggest part is relationships and my own shortcomings. My controlling nature wants the person and the problem fixed. Then, I think, it will be better.
Little by little, I’m seeing that this isn’t the way God works. He is always working, transforming all of His children into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. No, it doesn’t happen all at once. It could take a lifetime—which, in the moment, seems like a very long time.
I look at some people and think, “You need a lot of help.”(Honestly, though, we all need help). And I forget to realize that God might be working in that person’s life. It may not be looking as I think it should (and who am I to tell God what’s best?), and it may not be happening at the rate that I approve (but it’s His time and not mine).
The scary part is that now the conclusion is unknown. The comforting part is that God good and full of grace to us, and He is working things out for His infinite glory. I can’t change people (though I would really like to sometimes), but He can. He is the only One who can. He wants me to love unreservedly, listen unselfishly, obey His Word and Spirit, and believe His truth.
I’m still learning about this new kind of patience. (It would be handy to get the whole lesson down right now.) But really—it’s freeing because the responsibility is not mine to be sure people are behaving as they should. My job is to obey Jesus Christ and not to change the world into the kind of world I think it should be.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).
“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/fjtu/2260860861/”>FJTUrban (sommelier d mojitos)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>