Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Patience…probably not my strong suit! And isn’t waiting something that we talk about in Advent? I thought Lent was supposed to be a journey, a time forward. But journeys also include standing still, contemplating, thinking, perhaps waiting on change (or at least the traffic to clear). You see, most of us probably not only want to know where we’re going but we also want to get there fast. Waiting is not part of our make-up. We’re programmed to keep moving, even though some of the steps may be painful. We’re rather traverse the jaggedness of the path than stand and wait for something that we do not control. It’s as if when we keep moving, we think we have some control, a sense that we are somehow responsible for changing things.
So I wait.
The Scripture talks about the farmer waiting for the crop. We probably understand that better than in most years. This winter has been hard. I’m still wondering if some of my plants will come back from the cold pain of the freezing temperatures. I’ve done what I can. Now I just wait. It’s hard. I like to know what direction things are moving. But I wait. My crepe myrtles in my back yard are always good for building patience. They seem to take forever to come back, almost taunting me with their bare limbs. I find myself looking to see if crepes are blooming around the neighborhood, wondering if there’s something wrong with them–or maybe something wrong with me.
So I wait.
Standing still–our lives don’t really encourage that–exposed, out of control, just waiting. Maybe this vulnerability reminds us of our place or, more importantly, makes us appreciate the journey. Part of this season and part of life is indeed about standing still. A journey is seldom completed with constant motion. We are just not made for that. (You can look up that seventh day concept when you have time! You know…on the seventh day…) Sometimes we are meant to move; sometimes we are meant to stand still and savor what God has shown us. Behold! There is the cross. There you are. And if you stand still long enough, you will be able to see where you are headed. We are not called to walk blindly into the unknown, never looking, never questioning, never contemplating where we are or where we’re going or where we’ve been; we are called to journey toward that which God has illumined in our lives.
So I wait.
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. (Joseph Campbell)
By my count, this is the 20th day of the season (remember, not counting Sundays!). We are halfway through. Stop. Wait. From where have you come? What have you learned about the journey that you can take forward?
Grace and Peace,