The Lack of Difference Between Patience and Faith

I’ve come to believe that patience is more than just a feature (or, as I once regarded it, a bug) of faith. It’s pretty much synonymous.

I can’t think of any past exercise of my faith that was not also a sweaty, when-will-this-be-over-and-how-has-it-only-been-60-seconds workout of my patience. Sometimes, the wait is brief. But not usually, and however long the question is the same: can we wait upon the Lord? Do we have what it takes to endure his better timing?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, especially this year. 2020 feels like I’m back in college. I know it’s going to end, and I know this pandemic/studying constantly thing is going to end, but it doesn’t feel like it most of the time and I’m not sure the reward at the end will be worth it.

But it was and it will be. My college degree reaped great rewards and my life settled into a groove afterwards that was never again so frenetic and busy and packed. We will all get our groove back, I’m certain of it. Even while it doesn’t always FEEL like it.

(The groove may be slightly worn and the needle might skip a bit, but that’s okay. It would be weird if we returned to an old record only to find it shiny and new. Maybe we’ll discover a new hidden track we didn’t know was there before.)

And I say all this while acknowledging that 2020 hasn’t been THAT bad for me and mine. Have we been quarantining for over 240 days thus far* in what sometimes feels like a futile and disrespected effort to do our part to minimize the effects of this virus and keep it away from ourselves and Cami? Yes. But, the upshot? Not one of us has been sick since February. Not even a sniffle.

Have we suffered disappointments, job and opportunity loss, and distance from family and friends? Yes. But, the upshot? Other opportunities have come our way (there’s the matter of a little movie I’m putting together, among other things) and we have found joy in being together in new ways. See: Erin’s amazing ability to celebrate every ten (now twenty) days.

Has there been death? Yes. And there is nothing not tragic about that. While I am grateful that we have not been personally so affected, I am saddened, just like all of you, that so many have been lost.

With the announcement of vaccines this week and a return to purple status, a little bit of light seems to be shining between the rocks of the 2020 cave-in, showing us hope and also how much of the collapse we still have to clear to make our way out. The time for patience/faith is not yet over. And that’s okay.

Every good thing I have ever received has been on a time delay. Never when I wanted it, always when I needed it. I believe all things can be for a higher purpose, even the very worst things. But only if we do not with our bitterness shut down that possibility.
I say none of this as a minimization of suffering, only as an argument in favor of faith; in favor of having the patience that we will get to that point of understanding if we so choose.

That’s my prayer: that 2020 is not a pothole to dodge on the way to the next thing, but ultimately a hard-yet-enlightening detour we can be glad we took to fully appreciate the better sights ahead.

*Minus, for me, the two weeks I spent in The Chosen set bubble of tight COVID restrictions and precautions.

Day 30 – I Will Churn My Own Butter If I Have To

On August 28th, my wife lost her job. 24 hours later, I lost mine. This blog is a continuation of the day-by-day chronicling of our emotional journey back to employment. This is bound to be upsetting, hilarious and hopeful.

Saturday – September 27, 2014

praying-hands-PencilToday was basically boring. I picked up Elora from Cross Country and cleaned the house and… that’s about it. Erin was out and about quite a bit, which put me in the pole position with the kids. Not a place I mind being at all.

After dinner, Erin and I started a fast. Once a month, on the first Sunday of each month, everyone in my church abstains from food or drink for 24 hours, from dinner-to-dinner. It’s not Gandhi in length, but it does take some discipline to make it all the way through. The idea is that spirituality is increased as the body is conquered, helping one to focus more on the things of God.

I have to be honest–fasting doesn’t really do anything of the sort for me. Instead of not thinking about my body and food, I hyper focus on them both and am weak and unable to concentrate on much of anything. Thankfully, the immediate benefits aren’t the real reason anyone fasts. A fast is just starving if it’s not for a purpose. A fast is a sacrifice, offered up as a petition to God for assistance on whatever matter is of the most concern. When there’s a drought, you fast for rain. When someone you know is sick, you fast for them. When you’re unemployed, you fast for a job.

The fast begins with a prayer in which the purpose is stated. So, God and I had a heart-to-heart tonight. When I approached the prayer, I didn’t think focusing on getting a job was necessarily the right thing. I don’t just need a job, I need know which way to go on this new crossroads. What am I–what are we–supposed to do in this next phase of our life? There are so many options. We could stay or we could move. Erin could work and I could stay home with the kids and work on things like writing that I enjoy most. I could be an Art Director again or do some type of management job. Erin could go into sales or work as a substitute teacher. We could go live on a farm and make our own butter.

If we knew how to make butter, that is. And if we didn’t need cows to do it. Cows stink.

What I want God to know is that I’m open to anything. I just want it to be right thing. This is the advantage of having a relationship with Someone who knows the end from the beginning. He knows where we’re headed and, if it’s His will, He can tell me. Or at least point us in the right direction. I don’t know what needs to happen for us to know, but I do know this: I’m not making a move without some communication from Him. Whatever happens next is too big and too important.

And if God is silent? Then I know the answer is wait. I’ve had enough experiences with this sort of thing to know He’ll show up when He’s ready. So long as we put forth the faith in the meantime.