Monday, August 23, 2010

Patients and Patience

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:25

If you look at your calendar, what do you see?

I see a cacophony of colors, all representing scheduled appointments, dates and responsibilities. Each block is carefully mapped out with well ordered plans and goals. That calendar alerts me of MY plans, but what about the plans the LORD has for me? I have to ask myself, are they the same?

God has blessed my life in reuniting a dear friend with me, at a most difficult time in her life. She is awaiting a liver transplant and has been on the UNOS list for years. She has literally been in my prayer journal since she was nine (she is now 25). When we spent time together this week, we spoke at length about what God has done in her life during this process. What a gift to have her share with me her heart. We talked about the intimate relationship she has with the Lord and how deeply she trusts him. We talked about fears, lonliness, the struggles that come naturally out of a long illness. The hard times are always peppered with good times in between. And finally, we talked about plans.

Newly married and anxious to get well, she has plans. Big plans. Family plans. Scripture tells us that suffering brings patience, so there is that human fear that perhaps we don't want to pray for patience, lest suffering enter our well planned lives. She is not living the plan she mapped out; yet, I was humbled and quieted by her articulation of how God has used her misplaced plan.

As people, even Christian people, we are frustrated by lack of gratification and what we perceive to be unanswered prayer. We want patience and faith, but we want it right now! Patience is a virtue...a virtue that takes into consideration the future and the unknown; neither are happy bedfellows with pretty much any patient anxious to keep moving and implement their scheduled activities of life. Hebrews 6:12 encourages us to "imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what is promised."

We grow in our ability to accept and have patience through two avenues, delay and interruption.

How many of us have been all set to walk out the door to a much anticipated event and one of our children begins with a fever or bellyache?
How many of us have prayed ceaselessly for resolution to a particular circumstance and the response is delayed and we are required to "prepare and wait"?

Patience. God whispers, "Have patience."

And, for my friend, in illness, there is uncertainty in so many areas, for her as a patient, her plans require her patience as she goes through the necessary medical interventions to get her body well again. God will sustain her and give her an extra portion as He heals her physically and refreshes her soul. As comforting as His mercy is, it does not change the dynamic that He is in control and her plans will be delayed. As a wife, a daughter, a sister...hearing God's whisper is bittersweet. Her spirit is eager to follow, while her heart understandably thrashes a bit in the times of waiting.

Her life, her experience, is a distinct and bold reminder that we can encourage one another in building our faith and allowing our responses to be complete and total trust in God's timing and His priority settings, not our own. Marie Curie said, "I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy."

"Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." Ecclesiastes 7:8

I pray our patience and trust are a true reflection of God's love lived out in the delays or interruptions that grow our spirits and mature our hearts. I am most thankful that my friend is an instrument of His gracious and tender care. She is the reality that no matter how carefully we set our vision into action, ultimately, our Heavenly Father has the most perfect plan. My prayer is for all of us to view the delays and interruptions as opportunities and "yields" to something far greater that He has prepared for us.

Be patient and be encouraged...



Jilly said...

Thankyou Heather, that is beautiful I will pray for your friend that God will strengthen her and bring her to the place where she can fulfill her dreams of a family!!

The other day I went out and bought all the things I needed to finish decorating mine and my Hubby's bedroom. I was so excited to get it done the next morning I woke up with a bad dose of the flu.

Now 5 days later I am still not well and as I was telling my Hubby how upset I was at not being able to get it all done so we could enjoy the room. He lovingly reminded me of the scripture in the Word about faith and patience suddenly I didn't have such a hard time resting and getting well again. In fact for the first time in my life I am enjoying just resting!

Then I came here and read your post and it has helped some much!!
It's all about trusting God and waiting for His perfect timing!!
Thank you again for sharing your story with us!
Jilly oxoxoxo

Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth said...

Beautiful reminder, Heather! How precious the Lord has reunited you with this dear friend, for whom I am praying. She is an amazing testimony of His grace.

And your 16 years of prayer for waited patiently for the Lord as well. He is good.

Waiting patiently, contently and with a quietness, demonstrates our trust in Him. He is completely trustworthy. He turns to us and hears our cries.

Psalm 40:1 - I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.

Rejoicing in God's reunion for you and your friend. Praying for her and trusting Him with her surgery.




I love this post. I too, have a young woman named, Tiffany, on my prayer list [2+ years now] who is a young wife, mother of a daughter about 4 now, and a worship leader at her church - also awaiting a liver transplant.

I read an article last night in an old issue of DJ Magazine by David W. Hernderson where he says:

"God delights to disrupt us so that He can give us more of Himself."

It takes patience and willingness to find that - even in the most terrible of circumstances - yet it is what we need most and what He longs to give us most - HIMSELF!

May God give them both more of Himself as they wait patiently for His plans to unfold!

Choosing JOY, Stephanie