Aloha Friday Message – December 13, 2019 – The Power of Patience

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   James 5:7 Be patient,* therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.

*Μακροθυμήσατε (Makrothymēsate) from μακροθυμέω (makrothumeó) {mak-roth-oo-meh’-o} to persevere, to be patient – I am longsuffering, I have patience, I am forbearing, I have perseverance. James uses this word in a way that is unusual when coupled with the image of a farmer waiting for crops to come in. He directs the Church to wait as God waits – with divine longsuffering. In the six verses before today’s Key Verse, James is describing how the rich have abused the poor, thinking they could set aside the wages owed to their workers thereby enriching themselves even more through fraud. James urges his flock to be patient in these trials because “the coming of the Lord is near.

Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing.’ It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles, and in the right way.” ― Fulton J. Sheen

In today’s world, feelings are more important than truth. The World takes delight in shaming and persecuting us; nonetheless, we can – and must – endure in firmly declared and patient Truth. DO we want to be liked more than we want to be truthful? How easily we have forgotten that nothing, nothing in this World is worth dying for? Only that which is beyond the muck and smut of the World is worth dying for because only those things are worth living for if we are being truthful.

All of us know we will die in this life on Earth. All of us know we will live an Everlasting Life beyond our life on Earth. NONE of us know with absolute certainty what the condition and surrounding of that Everlasting Life will be. All of us know we will get to that point of transition eventually. Many of us want to “die young and put it off as long as possible.” Some of us are ready to leave at less than a moment’s notice. Between this present moment and that coming moment, what shall we do? What can we do? What may we do? What must we do?

The answer comes in one of those very-familiar four-letter words: WAIT. It is true that some of us do things that will, in effect, “hurry-up” that Big Change of Address – usually it involves excessive use or consumption of Worldly possessions, perhaps even to the point of abuse. The list of “Worldly Good Things” that can kill you seems interminable and has grown longer (and more ludicrous) every day. Many times we think we can substitute those things for God. We make gods of celebrities, material things, feelings, beliefs (whether right or wrong), luck or fate or “destiny,” and even things which don’t exist like Leprechauns and unicorns. We try to find something for which we can live, for which we can do something that will give value to our lives. Among the many things we do not do is WAIT. Waiting seems to be cowardly, or stupid, or simply unproductive. There is an old adage which seems to motivate many of us: “Don’t just stand there! DO SOMETHING!” What if I told you that – since that is what the World expects – it is backwards? In more moments that we’d like to admit, the truth is we should be saying “Don’t just do something! STAND THERE!” That seems counterintuitive in “this day and age.” And that is exactly why this chiasm (or chiasmus ← definition) actually makes sense. We must be patient. We must wait. We must not run headlong into death in ignorance. We should make our waiting worth something. We should wait actively. Wait? What does that mean – wait actively? How can patience be active? To understand that let’s look at some additional Scriptures about waiting and patience.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit.

Job 6:11 11 “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?” New International Version (NIV)

That last quote from Job carries an important clue about waiting. We wait because we have HOPE. If you think about it, there’s no point in waiting unless we are waiting for a purpose – a someone or something – that we can reasonably expect to be given. And if we are waiting for a purpose then we are not just passively letting life roll by. That’s like being a living speed-bump – you just lay down and let everything run slowly over you! No, Belovéd, we wait with active readiness – “CONSTANT VIGILANCE.” That way, no matter what comes our way – for good or ill – we are prepared to deal with it, and our preparation usually includes a surplus (that surplus is the direct evidence of God’s generosity). We are patient, then, because we have HOPE. Where or what is the source of that HOPE? Well, dearhearts, I know you know the answer to that! Behold! “I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.” (See Psalm 119:11)

So what Word have I hidden in my heart that defines hope for me?

Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Psalm 39:7 “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.

1 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my loyal child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5: 3-5 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For me, that is hope. When I look around the world and see loved-ones suffering; innocents being murdered, persecuted, tormented, and terrorized; natural disasters overwhelming the great and the small alike; the oceans, the lands, and the very sky above us polluted and dying; then I turn my eyes toward Jesus, and I see HOPE.

I can’t think of anyone or anything better to wait for than God! My HOPE is to spend my eternity with, in, and for him as intimately as possible. The most intimate parts of our lives center on Love: God, family, friends, country, the Eucharist. We are vigilant because we want what we have and it is – or should be – enough. If we grow impatient and let our vigilance lapse, we may miss out and be caught unprepared – like the people in Noah’s time, we might miss the boat. Instead, as the wise virgins who trimmed their lamps and brought extra oil, if we are patiently, selflessly, continuously well-prepared; if that for which we have prepared does not come, we have a surplus. We run into a problem when  we start to believe that we don’t deserve God’s Good Gifts and therefore he will withhold them from us. LIES, and all lies are not of God. The World tells us plenty of lies when it comes to patience and waiting. Some of those lies sound pretty convincing – they are the “PC version” of Scripture. I confess, I use them, too; but as I become more aware of what they actually do to my patience, I am discerning better choices. Instead of actively waiting in hope, we say “I’m just going to let God tell me what to do.” That way, if things “go sideways,” it’s God’s fault, not ours. Or maybe we just sit there on the fence rail and figure we’re safe if we don’t commit to one or the other course of action. That isn’t active waiting; that’s hiding in plain sight. If we’re not moving, growing, producing, then we are useless. “But hang on there, Chick! Didn’t you just say ‘Don’t just do something! STAND THERE!’?” Yes, I did, but I did not immediately say what we should be doing as we stand. Standing is a form of waiting, or readiness for action. Sitting on my butt and moaning about the World is not waiting. It is self-indulgent pessimism, and I want no part of that. There are better ways.

There are some simple things each of us can do starting today that will help us sharpen our skills in discernment. We can begin with acknowledging that God does not and will not withhold from us what he set aside for us at the moment of creation. He has created each and all of us to be like him, but with special emphases on what he plants within us. If we sit around waiting for a telegram from God to tell us exactly what to do, that isn’t waiting and that isn’t patience. Rather, we should thank God for giving us body, mind, and spirit that we can offer up for him to use. Then, share our Gifts to the World – don’t sell them, don’t count them, don’t be prideful in them – just share them as liberally as we received them. THAT is active waiting. Note, though, that we are called upon to be discerning. We’ve mentioned 3-D discernment before (← Check it out!).

3-D Discernment is  Discernment that is Direct, Deliberative, and Descriptive. Direct in the sense that it is confrontational as when Jesus spoke directly to the demon that was oppressing someone. Deliberative in that it weighs the evidence of Good Fruits versus Corrupt Fruit. Descriptive in that it lays out in no uncertain terms where the errors are and defines them so that only a demon or a fool would walk into those traps again. I encourage you to reread 1839AFC091418 – Discernment and Discrimination. There is yet another part of waiting we usually forget in our selfishness. Someone is waiting for us.

Isaiah 30:18 18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Yes, Belovéd, God is waiting for you, waiting for me, waiting for the World to wake up and declare that HE is God. Isaiah 48:9 For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, so that I may not cut you off. Isaiah 45:22 22 Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. Why will – why does – God wait for us? He waits so that everything he has put into us has a chance to come to fruition so that in our Salvation, he may be exalted. God made all things with the potential to grow. Knowing that, let’s go back and look at that farmer James mentioned.

The farmer starts with seed – he bought it or grew it himself – and he places it in the soil. He cares for it with irrigation and weeding. He waits for it to grow. He knows what to expect because “this is the way it works – plant, grow, harvest.” Now, we know it would be a fool who goes out on the sunny afternoon of August 15th to sow a field of wheat and waits until September 26th to harvest. What will he harvest? NOT MUCH! God plants, the spirit tends, the Angels harvest, the Lord judges. That’s how it works. Waiting is part of the process; vegetating is not. The full season of maturation is required for a full harvest. The farmer plants in hope of a harvest, and he assists in that hope by taking action as the crop grows. “Be still and wait upon the Lord” does not mean “sit down, shut up, and watch.” It means to confidently trust that God knows better than we do. Isaiah 30:15 15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. (New International Version (NIV) How many thousands of years did God wait for the World to be ready before Jesus came to us? For 2000+ years, we have waited for his return. God is waiting for our return. Are we ready yet? Or will we be like the foolish virgins who did not come prepared? If you listen carefully, we might hear him calling our names. (↔ Music Link) When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, (↔ Music Link) are we going to be listening for HIM (↔ Music Link) or will we be listening to our own little selfish selves? I am waiting for Jesus, and as long as I’m waiting, I’m trusting that loving you is a major part of what he has given me to do. Let us wait on Him together so the Lord will renew our strength. (← Check it out!)

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

PASSAGES MARKED NIV are from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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