I have to write about this because it just seems to keep coming up in one way or another in my daily readings. Patience is a virtue that I have had to work hard on acquiring. Left to my own devices I’m a “I want what I want, when I want it” type of gal. (Partners well with that “fly by the seat of my pants” personality that I have!) I love immediate results – yesterday!!
So when I opened my copy of the Daily Word yesterday and saw the topic was “patience” a small inner part of me groaned. That seems to be my first response to anything that smacks of a personal lesson that I need to learn, or relearn, or reinforce! Fortunately that response is usually short-lived and I am willing to dive in and look at the lesson. I am grateful today that I am willing to be teachable.
The title immediately under the topic read: “I patiently await answered prayer.” And I recognized instantly that I needed to go back in my other meditation books because I knew that I had received this message several times over the last couple of weeks. Someone was definitely trying to get my attention!!
In the posting that I wrote yesterday, Return To My Spiritual Sanctuary, I quoted from the book The Power of Prayer by E.M. Bounds, (July 8). Over a period of three or four days in the same book I found the following messages: “Persistent prayer has patience to wait and strength to continue.” (July 4) And, “Even if God does not answer our prayers right away, we must keep on praying.” (July 6)
Imagine my dismay when I turned the page on July 10 and found the title, “Delays and Denials” and read, “We need to give thought to the mysterious fact of prayer – the certainty that there will be delays and denials. We must prepare for and permit these delays and denials.” So does this mean that I have to wait for God to answer my prayer in His time? He’s not going to respond to my requests immediately? I am going to have to wait!!
I returned to yet another of my daily books, Moments of Peace in the Presence of God published by Bethany House, where I remembered a title from about ten days ago. And there it was: “Waiting For God’s Timing”. I took the time to reread this and I would like to share some of it with you.
“ ‘Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.’ Psalm 62:1
No amount of worrying can make things happen, let alone make them happen the way you want. Still, your human nature, bent on trying, rises to the challenge. What’s the remedy for this all-too-common malady? Oswald Chambers in his classic My Utmost For His Highest, wrote, ‘When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait ….. If you have the slightest doubt, then he is not guiding.’
The story of Abraham and Sarah illustrates the futility of trying to make a divine promise come about in your own timing. Tired of waiting for a son, Sarah took matters into her own hands. The result was disastrous. God’s timetable always delivers an Isaac when the time is right.”
This reflection finished with the following prayer:
Slow me down, God, when I am in a hurry and you are not.
Help me to walk with you, not ahead of you.
Teach me to plant the seed and leave the harvest to you.
What a concept. I need to make this prayer part of my daily prayers. I need to remember to walk with God and not try to walk ahead of Him. Imagine that, trying to guide God! Only someone with the underlying egotistical traits of character that I have would attempt to do that. So for the foreseeable future my lesson needs to be one of patience laced with generous dollops of humility.