Sunday, March 16, 2014

Finding Patience in Hectic Places.

Have patience, therefore, brothers and sisters, till the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the earth, having patience for it until it receive [the] early and [the] latter rain.  -- James 5:7 (Darby)
Got patience?  My experience has shown me that impatience is my default setting.  We live in an impatient world with instant everything.  Who has to wait for anything?  Yet, I'm sitting here at my desk listening to CNN with one ear hearing about day 10 of the lost Flight 370.  Those families know impatience.  Like the produce that ripens on its own schedule in our garden, these kinds of things that are out of OUR control bring us impatience.  I wonder if the farther we've gotten from agricultural lifestyles the worse is our impatience?  Modern, urbanized folks are addicted to fast and instant, and waiting makes us nuts.

One aspect of patience involves time.  Kairos is a Greek word that is found a fair number of times in scripture -- 86 times.  It refers to time that is suitable, or the right moment.  It is often used to refer to God's time.  The apples will be ripe when the time is right.  God spoke when it was time.

The other aspect of patience is suffering.  An older word often that was used in place of patience was "long-suffering."  There is an element of patience that implies a degree of suffering, or at the very least a holding back of oneself or one's expectations or hopes.  So, James is saying, "Hold yourself back for the right time."  The right time will be in God's good discretion and will be the best outcome.  Be still and know God.

That is easier said than done.  One method of helping yourself find patience is through mindful breathing.  Sit yourself down in a comfortable place.  Begin by noticing your breath.  Think of your favorite name or image for God, and every time you breathe in say or think that to yourself.  As you breathe out release your worries and busy self-chatter.  Imagine your image/name for God filling you a little fuller with each breath inward and your own "stuff" growing smaller with each breath outward, until you are just sitting quietly with God -- outside, inside, above, below, and all around you.  This is your patient space.  Repeat this to yourself numerous times: "This is what patience feels like."  By doing this you are teaching your brain how to find this space once again when you need it again.  At those times, you may be able to simple say to yourself: "Remember what patience feels like," and you will immediately move in that direction.  This is good spiritual training in practice!

Ever patient, loving God grant us the space and generous time to find ourselves basking in your tranquil presence.  Give us patience to face this day.  Amen.  

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