Patience

Lenten Reflections  2013– Week 1

Temptation.  We know it well.  We joke about it, sing about it, and wrestle with it.  Often, we fall for it, especially if it promises a quick route to what we think we really want.  Do you want to feel good?  Eat some chocolate.  Thirsty?  Drink a soda.  Want love?  Uh, oh – let’s not go there!  Come to think of it, temptation is often about getting something we really need or want by way of a shortcut.

Shortcuts.  They are those things you take to save time, increase efficiency, and generally help out with life, or so we think.  However, my personal experience tells me something else about shortcuts.  They often aren’t.  When I take a shortcut on the farm that I think will save me time, it often ends up costing me plenty.  Leave a gate open thinking that I’ll get back to close it before the cows or horses notice; next thing I know I find myself chasing livestock for an hour all because of that “shortcut.”  Why did I take the shortcut?  Because I tend to be impatient.

Impatience. It’s the thing you learn early on never to pray for.  That prayer guarantees you a tough, challenging day.  I’m an “on-time freak.”  Fifteen minutes early is on time.  I married a wonderful gal who couldn’t begin to tell you what fifteen minutes is.  God not only wanted to teach me patience; He’s taught my wife plenty as well, which leads to the point of this Lenten reflection.

Impatience, shortcuts, and temptation seem to come from my frustration with timing, and specifically, God’s timing in my life.  I just finish reading “Fill These Hearts,” by Christopher West.  West proposes that our original parents – Adam and Eve – sinned when they failed to trust God.  That fruit looked great, she was hungry, and there was that outside voice saying you can’t really trust God, can you?  So Adam and Eve took control of the situation, took matters into their own hands.  Temptation, supported by impatience, offered a shortcut.  And I’m still impatient.

How about those weeds?  Crop rotation takes a long time.  I need to do more, be faster, get more “efficient.”  The temptation is always there, personally and professionally.  America suffers from obesity and type 2 diabetes largely because we’ve decided to take a shortcut to eating.  We have literally eaten the fruit of temptation and it is killing us.  I love the concept of “slow food.”  I sometimes find little patience to practice it.  I’ve been married 20 years; I’m just beginning to know the true nature of love (“love is patient, love is kind…”).  Those weeds aren’t just annoying; they’re a sign of something lacking in my soil.  If I truly love my soil, I need to find out what it needs rather than just spray the weeds out of existence.

IMGP2065

We need to come to a place in our lives where we say faster is not always quicker, more won’t necessarily make me full, and bigger is certainly not better.  We need to tell the “serpents” in our lives to shove it, we need to walk away when we know to, run when we must.  Often, we simply need to listen to the still, small voice that says trust me, wait on me, I will provide your every need in my time.  Amen+