I’ll admit. I did not want to write this week’s devotional on patience. I wanted Kat to do it because she’s more patient, the one that’s slow to talk and keeps calm when a problem arises. So when the cards were dealt randomly, and I was the one who got the task to write about patience, I panicked and brought my fear to God. “Lord,” I asked, “how can I teach patience when I have yet to decipher how it works in my own life? I’m too young! I’m still IN the waiting process. I haven’t reached the destination. I can’t ‘live to tell the tale’. My testimony isn’t powerful.”
See, I have a chaotic life. I had dreams I wanted to see through to the end; they seem buried or dead, and for all I know, may never amount to a hill o’ beans, as Southern people say. My dreams may never come true. At this point, I don’t know.
Or maybe my dreams will happen, but not the way I thought. Perhaps I will simply influence others to have dreams and they will carry out “the beautiful life” while I am left to study, research, and philosophize.
Or maybe my dreams will only become reality after my lifetime is over. Like Picasso and Van Gogh, artists who become famous after their death, or Edgar Allan Poe who became famous post-mortem, too.
Maybe, right? I constantly find myself waiting for the “easy part” to get here. I wait for God to bless me with a stable job, friends, independence, customers, or could God have a chosen alternative? Just something! Anything! Don’t hold me in suspense. “Let thy will be done” is me relinquishing my will to him every day of my life in 2017, and yet, last year wasn’t any different, or any year that I can remember since I graduated high school, so how can I expect next year to change? Have I ever done anything, so far, that’s worthy of praise? Can anyone be proud of me?
There’s good news if you’re like me. This journey of questioning, wondering, and waiting is exactly how we learn how to be patient, the way the Holy Spirit intends us to! Sure, like me, you might know someone who exhibits outstanding qualities, and they appear calm and enduring, while meanwhile, you see yourself as hyper, anxious, or impulsive. It may seem like you can’t be patient, but…
God’s patience is for everyone. God’s patience isn’t the skill of twiddling your thumbs or the art of sitting still! It is the ability to trust God, even when your bully brain tells you He doesn’t care; you trust Him anyway. It is the plan to keep trying to do what is right even when your anger is ready to burst. It’s the idea that you will keep forgiving and loving someone who has already wronged you a bazillion times. When you never see an end to struggling, yet you keep praying for and loving people anyway, that’s patience.
You are a coconut and God is the hammer, the knife, and the hands that hold you, break you, shape you, and make you. You are the coconut that becomes a basket, broom, rope, sweet pie, healing lotion, clothing, shampoo, dangly earring, carpet, candy, or pina colada, or anything God wants you to be. You drop off the tree and roll into the sand, where the tide pulls you into the waves, and the waves take you all the way to new land, but only after days and days of bobbing. Then you might grow big into a palm tree, or maybe you are found by the hammer and cracked open and used as a tool or food or medicine. You do not know where your journey will take you, but never will your journey take you the same place as other coconuts. It may hurt, it might be long and tumultuous, but in the end, you will do mighty little things. You are a tiny bit extraordinary, and a very big part of God’s plan of salvation for everyone.
Patience is you, when you let God in.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14