It was probably in 1982 that I had the opportunity to go to a James Taylor (JT) concert. This song sung above by India Arie seemed to stop in time as the line "The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time" was crooned by James Taylor. I knew there was a message for me in that lyric. Time stopped. Rushed, scattered, distracted... there were many adjectives that could describe my regular modus operandi at that time.
Patience was definitely not a strong suit. When we chose words for a fruit of the Spirit preaching series this year- the word I got was patience. It has been a work in progress and will be a lifelong journey. This weekend we will hear of how Jesus was asleep on a cushion at the stern of the boat as a storm came up. As the boat was being swamped he slept. When his disciples wake him he calms the storm and the wind with his words. All at the right time. As I have been reflecting upon patience I have also been contemplating timing. To trust in God's timing- to discern when to act and when to wait, when to speak and when to be quiet and how in the midst of all of it to fully rely upon God can be so challenging!
God has given us gifts, skills, talents and life to share. How do we find the balance of when to act- to use for God's will and God's work what we have been given and when to wait? To discern timing for me takes a pause to find the deeper connection that comes with prayer, meditation and deep breathing. Also connecting with other people who can add perspective and listen if my desire to "make something happen" is of my own will or in sync with the flow of the Spirit.
The scripture from Isaiah has also been running through my mind and heart along with the song by JT;
"..those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
This Sunday ten students and three adults (including me)- leave for an adventure, a trip, an experience of community and connection and learning. And it's going to take time. We travel by bus for 3 days from Denver to El Paso to San Antonio to Houston. We will be in Houston with over 30,000 other ELCA youth and adults learning, growing, singing, worshiping, experiencing many new things and waiting. I am going to get lots of time to practice patience, practice waiting, practice praying, and practice relying upon the timing of God and the direction of the Spirit. You can follow along with some of the highlights of our journey that we will post to the Lord of the Hills Facebook page.
One of the things I have learned in these 30 plus years since having those words strike right to my heart at a concert- God is the patient One. God is with us in each breath just waiting for us to connect, to notice, to draw upon the innermost calm. Patience is a practice. Often what has been needed from me was not more action or more distraction- it has been to slow down and be present.
Patience comes more often from waiting more than from trying to make it happen. When I get reoriented to how God has already provided for us the connection to God in the breath of life there is the deep calm in life's storms, peace in chaos, and the timing and direction of True North in God's grace showing me to turn to God and be connected in all times and in all places.
In the pause, in the waiting and in the uncertainty my strength has been renewed. Not, of my own doing but in the letting go and waiting and resting. God's grace does for me what I cannot do for myself- calming the storm. I have had those times where I have run and not grown weary, I have walked and not fainted as I have focused on being yoked to God who guides, leads and calms my innermost storms. As you wait may your strength be renewed - Pastor Margot