Patience is not one of my virtues. It’s not that I don’t understand the importance of it. I’ve tried to develop patience. I’ve had plenty of opportunities provided to learn patience but still I want everything NOW! I want that piece of cake NOW. I want those new shoes NOW. I want grandbabies NOW! Even when I know that waiting is better (like waiting for my children to be ready to be parents), I don’t want to wait. It’s more than just desiring instant gratification, it’s a lack of trust. I don’t trust God to provide on His timing. I want it NOW.
I’m not just impatient about things I want to have, I want God to take care of the things I need, too. I want to be free from depression NOW. I want healing NOW. Why doesn’t God take care of me NOW?
Perspectives on Jesus
Today is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem in the week leading up to his crucifixion. In church this morning, the pastor spoke of the different perspectives of those watching Jesus’ entry and the different expectations of Jesus they had. Some were just watching a spectacle, others thought they were seeing the entry of the Messiah, some just wanted to know more about this strange man who could do wondrous things. Then, the pastor asked about our own perspectives.
As I thought about the expectations people had of Jesus - of God - in biblical times, I realized I had those same blinders on. The crowd wanted Jesus to be Messiah the way they defined the term "Messiah". They wanted the triumphant king to rescue them according to their own ideas and desires. I realized I needed to understand that God is a sovereign God, with an amazing plan revealed in His word, but that plan isn’t what we expect or even perhaps what we want.
Expectations of Jesus
I have my list of desires that I give to God in prayer. It’s not that those desires are bad (alright, maybe the cake isn’t great), it’s my expectation of having my prayers answered a particular way at a particular time that misses the mark. Just as Jesus entered Jerusalem preparing to change the world, He enters my life preparing to do the same thing but, while God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want, He answers them in accordance with his Word and – this is the hardest thing to see – He answers them better than we expect.
It’s easy for those of us in the present day to judge those of Jesus’ time for not recognizing the amazing thing He was going to do. Unfortunately, we do the same thing. When God doesn’t answer our prayers in our way, in our timing, we stop trusting.
Towards the end of the sermon, the pastor said these words, “Know your purpose and know what you are called to do.” I am not called to be free of depression NOW, I am called to help those who are also in slavery to it. It is not what I want, or the way I want. I want Jesus to heal me NOW. Instead of being angry waiting for that healing to come. I need to trust God. I need to be patient. I need to realize that I WILL be healed, it is just the timing that is in question. In the meantime, I will learn to be patient. I will learn to trust so in the end I will hear those amazing words, “well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23 NIV)