More Than Waiting

James 5:7-10 extols the virtue of patience and bids me to look to farmers and prophets who exemplify it. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting, so James exhorts those who grow impatient to strengthen their hearts. Patience is more than simply waiting. It requires strength and endurance to run the race and not be discouraged. Listen to the what James has to say.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.  Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (NASB)

The more we have to wait, the more we complain. It’s easy to strike up a conversation in an airport terminal when flights are delayed or when waiting in a slow moving line. Complaints bring us together in one discord. As the wait becomes longer, complaints become divisive. Fingers start pointing, and judging begins in earnest. James tells us the Judge is standing right at the door; that should cause us to stop bickering and start working together in a way that focuses upon the moment when the door will open, and we will be in God’s presence.

We may die before Christ returns, and that was something that caused the early Christians much grief. It still causes grief as we all want to be here for the Second Coming. One way or the other, we will be in the presence of the Judge. The good news is that we can prepare for that meeting by living in a way that glorifies God. That includes repenting when we slip off the path. God doesn’t expect perfection. Christ is our righteousness. His perfect love and gracious forgiveness pave the way for patience when we strengthen our hearts and work together.

God’s Timing:)

God’s timing has more to do with my readiness than His delaying. I often say that God’s timing is perfect, and it is. I usually mean that He’s making me wait for some reason, helping me grow, or teaching me patience. That’s true also, but I’m learning that God’s timing is directly related to the state of my heart’s readiness. He’s always ready to teach, guide, and give me the wonderful things He has in store. I am not, so He’s the one who’s doing the waiting! Knowing that puts me in a different state of mind and heart:)

As I think of all God put before me this week, I am humbled. Jeremiah 33 has blessed me over and over, and verse 9 grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let it go last night.

“It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’” NASB

God’s love has demanded my attention this week, and I have literally trembled at all the good and all the peace He has made for me. These words from “The Wonderful Cross” say it perfectly, and Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin sing it beautifully!

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.” 

God doesn’t just bid me come, His love demands my soul and my attention in a way that makes me tremble in wonder and stop what I’m doing and look to Him. I’ve found that when I do that, He will show me who He is and who He believes I can be. It causes me to see myself as He sees me, and that brings me to my knees in gratitude for His grace.

Knowing I am loved is a mirror that allows me to look deeply at His love and express it to Him, myself, and those in my path. His love is so different from mine. I understood enabling, fixing, pitying, and waiting upon, but I never knew true love until God planted its seed in my heart three years ago. It grew, flourished, and has ripened to the point of readiness.

Readiness is one definition of the Greek word translated as holiness, and that simple truth helps me see love in a new light. Knowing that God is waiting for that readiness in my heart changes the way I live and love. I’ve been waiting for Him to do something. God’s lessons this week have been amazing. I’ve long since stopped using the word coincidental because I know that nothing is coincidental when it comes to God. He does wait for me, but He also knows when I’m going to be ready. He knew the seed He planted on December 1st three years ago would be ready yesterday. Amazing:)

Unexpected Gift

Coming face to face with death was not what I expected on my birthday, but God had me do just that. I watched a sweet saint go into God’s presence yesterday afternoon and was awed and humbled as never before in my life. I wasn’t with mama when she died, but even if I had been, it wouldn’t have been the same experience because I was in an altered state and unaware of what was going on around me during that time. Yesterday, I was able to observe calmly and was touched deeply by God’s unexpected gift. It caught me off guard and caused a stillness unlike any other as I held my breath and watched as Edith took her last breath.  She was so like mama, so my heart was immediately carried away in a flood of emotions that took me to my car and followed me home.

Being in the presence of death was a lesson I will not soon forget. Life is a vapor, and ethereal took on new meaning as I shared the room with death. Life is tenuous and a mere blink when compared to the eternity within which we live. That was the lesson as God captured and held my attention tightly in those few frozen moments.

Mama left a hole in my heart when she died. I think of her often but particularly miss her on my birthdays. She always made sure they were very special. She was like a child herself and loved celebrating birthdays. She would sometimes hide my present under the bed so I could open it as soon as I awoke. One year, I got a Barbie doll! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that lean lanky doll in her black and white swimsuit:) I remember birthday cakes and parties and feeling like a princess all day long. I felt very like a princess yesterday morning, but in the hospital room yesterday afternoon, I knew I was a bride.

Edith had waited patiently for Christ to come for her and grown weary in the waiting. I thank God for allowing me to see her wait come to an end. She isn’t anxious any more, and she is in the presence of more love than she or I could ever imagine. As I worked on last minute details for the wedding, I was reminded of the excitement a wedding brings. The bible study yesterday morning also reminded me that I am Christ’s bride. That changes the way I wait. I am to be preparing for His coming just as He is preparing a place for me in His Father’s House. I know He’s doing a much better job than I with those preparations, but I plan to improve on my preparing.

I thank God for the beautiful, unexpected gift of stillness in the presence of His love that touched my heart. Death helped me see life and love in a new light. It’s easy to get weary in the waiting, but knowing that Christ is also waiting eagerly helps me puts everything into perspective. It sometimes seems like a long wait, but if I wait as an expectant bride or a child on Christmas eve, the wait is not a weary one.