Sunday, April 24, 2005

Patience is a hard thing

Patience never seems to accompany youth. Young people are always eager for action; sometimes this is good, but not always. This problem is only accentuated by the modern-American “fast food” culture. “We want it now” could be the motto of my generation. What is the sense is waiting for something when you can have it now. Premarital sex runs rampant in our culture because of this. Who cares about the marriage bond? Who cares about fidelity? We want it now! Instant gratification. I suppose the TV caters to this idea as well. Most shows are only 30 minutes long so no one develops a decent attention span. Modern Christianity bows to this too. We can't be expected to sit through a sermon—15 minutes might be pushing it. We need to be up “worshiping” and dancing around to some praise song's chorus sung over and over again. There is no time for real substance to our worship; we want to feel God now.

I'm the sort of person that likes desert last. When I was a child, I could never understand the kids around me that wanted their cookie before the meal. I always wanted to save the best for last, and since the desert was the best part, I would prefer that last. If I could carry this attitude over into other parts of life, I suppose I would be much more content. It is so easy in the trivial things, why is it so hard in the important things?

In the sermon this week, the pastor read a good portion of Psalm 62. It seems that patience didn't really come naturally to the Psalmist either. Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” Strong's definition of expectation includes the idea of “the thing that I long for.” As I considered the Psalmist's words, I couldn't help but think how hard this was to do. Think about it; this means that the thing I long for most is from him. It isn't from me; I can't make it happen in my own power. I have to wait on God's time. Everything in my flesh recoils at this idea. I want to go my own way; to pull myself up. Why do I need to wait on God?

The other verse that really struck me was Psalm 62:11: God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. For some reason this verse stood out to me in the passage. This makes sense of course because we want to wait on the God who has the power to bring about our most longed for desires, but why is the phrase emphasized so much? God spoke it once, but the Psalmist heard it twice—he had to hear it with physical and spiritual ears. If I'm honest, I realize I need to hear this twice as well. I confess that God is infinitely powerful, but I don't always want to wait on him. This conflict between what I say and what I believe needs to be reconciled. It must needs be that this idea soak in; it needs to gel in my heart and mind. Power belongs unto God.

Patience ought not be absent from youth, but I have no easy answers. Everyday I pray for the thing I desire, and everyday I come home with no progress made. I comfort myself with the thought that it, like desert at dinner time, is the best part. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Patience is a hard learn.


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