|My best Axl impression. I should have|
made a GIF so you could see
In the New Living Translation, the verse reads: Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Wait. Patiently. For. The. LORD. Be. Brave. AND. Courageous. Sigh. Couldn't the verse I am going to see a million times today be anything but this one?
As I have been packing and preparing for my move, I am finding that every box, every room, it unearths feelings that I thought I had dealt with. It stirs up emotion that led me on a half hour driving prayer this morning that would make you swear that Sam Kinison is my guardian angel. Patience. Meh.
By and large this chapter of my life has been going on for three long fucking years. It shatters me to the core of every belief that I have about prayer. And as I write this it isn't lost on me how peculiar it was to flip on the tele at 3am and the episode be about Daniel and how God heard his prayers but had to fight through things in the heavenlies to answer. What a strange coincidence, huh?
I get that. I do. Despite what my Baptist friends think, I do know and understand the Bible and Biblical principle. And I have, to play on Psalm 27 some more, I have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I know God isn't a magic genie. I know that sometimes the answer is no because not everyone need a pony. I know the power and the presence and the oneness. Ah, but patience...
Right about now, someone usually brings up Job. I had the pleasure of a deep and meaningful study of Job last year. I know folks bring it up because we have that phrase in our vernacular, "the patience of Job" but if you were to read Job 26-31 these are hardly the words of a man patiently biding his time. All the back and forth between Job and Zophar and Eliphaz and Bildad and Elihu before finally the Lord booms out in his Samuel L Jackson voice leaving Job with only this:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
(Job 42:1-6 The Message)
Then BOOM! God restores Job. "So Job died, old and full of days." (42:17) I want to die old and full of days but friends, I feel so stuck right now. I want to believe so much that what lies ahead is greater than what lies behind, I do. But I can't seem to stop asking when, when, when, when. I have never prayed for patience nor would I ever put that sort of asking for trouble kind of prayer into the stratosphere. Although, my recent propensity for uttering "I want what You want" may be a bigger Pandora's box than I ever realized.
I do want what God wants. I get that His ways are not my ways. Maybe I need to spend less time grumbling with my Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad. Relax and enjoy and fight hard to live in day-tight compartments and be present in the present. Perhaps I could be more patient if I didn't have expectations about how this story should go.
When I was attending Grace UMC in Dayton, Bryan Palmer-Smith was at the helm. I always enjoyed his messages, especially his knack for admonishing us to "make that spiritual." I do that a lot. Biblical knowledge is worthless if you can't practically apply it. So, I am going to round this out with a little ditty called "Patience". I like to pretend as of late that God is singing this to me. Hey, if Cal Naughton Jr. can picture Jesus singing lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd, then Jenny can picture God using Axl to deliver this message.