"Patience is a virtue...that I don't have time for!" That was one of many silly things my dad used to tell me as a kid. Always in jest, of course. And yet, there is some truth to that statement.
There are SO many things to be learned from the last year. I think we could spend 100 years looking back at the last 12 months and find something new each time we looked. Please forgive me if I reference 2020 in my blogs more times than you'd like! But one thing I have been reflecting on lately is the idea of patience and 2020 certainly grew us all in that!
I grew up in America. In a microwave, fast-food, instant-gratification kind of society. Until moving to Nepal, I never had to witness my food be slaughtered or put much work or effort into any meal if I didn't want to. I remember waiting for phone calls or scheduling a time/place to meet someone before cell phones and text messages were a thing. My whole life, the society I have lived in has always attempted to progress in one thing- convenience.
Anyone who has worked retail can attest to the fact that when something is inconvenient, people are quick to move on to the next option or complain about the option we wanted taking longer than anticipated. And while we know that this must be "bad," it is still so deeply ingrained in us that we cannot help but revert back to our true nature.
Nepal (especially where I live) moves at a MUCH slower pace than America. Things are RARELY convenient and take a massive amount of time and energy. For someone like me whose nature is to be productive and efficient, this has been a bit of a challenge.
I am thankful to have experienced 2020. It made me slow down and appreciate moments for what they are. To understand more deeply that being effective doesn't always mean accomplishing 50 things in a day, but sometimes a day of soaking in silence is the best way to spend your day. Because of these moments, I feel as though I recognize the presence of God more easily and I enjoy His creation and the time He has given me so much more!
All of that being said, I believe patience will forever be something God has to work out in me. Maybe that is true of all of us, I cannot say. But certainly for me. And as I have been thinking about the concept of patience...I cannot help but ask why it exists? We've all heard the phrases "good things come to those who wait" or "the best things in life are worth waiting for." Scripture certainly has some things to say about it. But why is it necessary?
Sarah wasn't pregnant until she was in her 90s. Moses never got to see the Promised Land and the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Joshua and his army had to march quietly around a city for a full week. Joseph was sold by family, betrayed again by his master, and sat in a prison cell before God brought good things and restoration to his family. Jacob worked 7 years for his bride....and then was deceived and worked ANOTHER 7 years for her. Jesus Christ Himself came to earth as a baby....who had to grow up just like any other human being and wait until His appointed time.
People in my close circle know that recently, someone VERY near and dear to my heart has become addicted to meth. And after working in San Francisco for many years, it is hard to be encouraged that this person will ever really get better. Even after praying and fasting, there is still a remnant of doubt. And I wish I knew today that they would be better soon- but that is simply not a guarantee. Praying and having hope and exercising patience all of a sudden become exceptionally more difficult. And in my prayers, I ask God why things can't be better already?! Why must we wait?
Besides the obvious reality that the world is broken and sin will continue to cause issues until the New Kingdom, one thing God has been reminding me of is His OWN patience. I mean, humans have been around for thousands of years! THOUSANDS! Adam and Eve broke a covenant that God is STILL waiting to finish restoring. So far, I have only been waiting one year for this person to be restored. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness continues to wait PATIENTLY for each of us. He waits through our victories and especially through our failures. He continues to encourage. He never gives up!
HE is my example. HE is the Person I am to attempt to model my own life after. His attributes are the ones I should pray for and seek. God never asks me to exhibit a trait or a virtue that He does not first possess. And something we see is in the very essence of His nature is patience.
I wonder what we may need to wait for in the new Kingdom. When all promises are finally fulfilled, what will be left to wait for? And why does the thought of there being nothing left to wait for make me a little sad? I expect we will be pleasantly surprised with God's plans for the New Kingdom that have yet to be revealed. (And a disclaimer here: I am not a Bible scholar, so maybe we have more insight than I think we do). But hope and patience are intertwined. I cannot hope for something that has already passed. I can only hope for the future and in so doing, I must wait for it with great anticipation. Never anxious that my hopes have yet to transpire, but being filled with gratitude that God leaves me with much to look forward to. So as frustrating as it may be at times, in all areas of my life, it is my desire to joyfully and patiently wait for the hopes in my life to be fulfilled.
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap, if we do not give up." -Galatians 6:9
"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." -Romans 6:9
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." -Romans 12:12
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant." -1 Corinthians 13:4
Enjoy some snaps/selfies I don't think I've shared yet