Saturday, November 6, 2010

Experiencing Faith develops patience

We are still in the 'moving' process. If I had what I think is 'my way' I would long ago have been moved and on to another 'chapter' in my life.

My time (or rather should I say timing) is, however, not always 'reality'. And since this move is not only 'my' move but at least four other people are involved, the logistics have been 'interesting' at best. (There are three other people living at the farm as well as my husband and myself.)

I am reminded often that the trying (testing, experiencing, using, etc.) of my faith is what develops patience. And James goes on to say, "Let patience have her perfect work'. In other words, the process may be as important as the end result, which is usually the case in my 'walk with God.' The same text also says to count this type of experience as 'all joy'. So here goes.

One of the people who has been here on the farm has been having some challenges finding some place else to live. Going with us is not an option, to my knowledge, for where we are going is not really a place that person could 'navigate' due to health issues. I have been encouraging my friend that God is still in control and to keep trusting that He will guide to a suitable place. One response has been that the trust in God is there but not the trust in people.

That brings up interesting topics. I fully agree that people can let a person 'down', and a lot of other options as well. Having said that, however, is there a possibility that in so thinking we are in reality not really trusting that God is 'bigger' than human beings? Is that train of thought really a doubt that God will take care of us?

As I think about those questions I also begin to wonder if they are not a sly attempt of the enemy of God at getting our minds and hearts out of God's timing (patience) as well as out of His will (trust). I know it is nice to have our plans all laid out ahead of time and to have those plans 'work'. But who, then, would be running the show, so to speak? Why would we need patience?

As I look back on the past few months I see time after time when God has been changing plans. It has not always been 'easy' or even seemingly convenient, but when I look back I believe that I can trust God even when I can't understand always what is going on.

By the way, some folks move the 'normal' way. Just before we got into the 'moving mode', friends of ours moved from Ohio to Colorado. From the 'outside' it appeared to be a well orchestrated operation. (My brother helped them by driving the rental moving truck.) I'm sure there were a few hitches and unexpecteds along the way but they were pretty well settled in within a few days of leaving Ohio. I am very happy for them.

On the other hand, our move is much more complex. Maybe a good analogy might be that their move was a bit like transplanting a beautiful lilac bush and our moving is like trying to move an orchard into several locations.

One of our challenges has been that having been here so long there has been a lot of 'stuff' to take care of. I am reveling in getting rid of stuff. That is no problem. The logistics of removal, one way or another, has been challenging though. We had a yard sale for several weeks which did help a lot. We have been taking the remains to local thrift shops which has also helped.

My hubby and I have had a weakness (or so it seems at this point in time). We thought we were helping others and have 'let them come here' when they appeared to have needed a place to stay. (I just got a call asking if we could take in a person who needed a place - they didn't know we were moving.) I suppose there may be merit, but on the other hand we often got stuck with stuff when they left. Anyway, now is 'stuff' removal time - and it is disappearing.

I do think one of the bigger challenges to me, though, has been remembering that I am not in charge of where the other folks are going, especially the one who is having difficulty finding a place. (That is one reason that person was here was because there didn't appear to be anything else available.) So is that person to be left out in the 'cold'? Is God no longer interested? This person loves the Lord and I firmly believe that God has more care for this situation than I can possibly have. That is easy to say. Faith is trusting God. But when things get tight, do we still choose to trust God? When time seems to be running out, do we worry ourselves out of God's plan? My present understanding of patience is accepting God's timing as well as God's will. It appears that God is giving me 'time' to practice patience right now. Thank you, Father. I am choosing to let patience have the time needed to develop in me.

This past week has had some other challenges as well. One morning I just about burned my hands in the hot water. When my hubby checked it out we found out there were problems. He was trying to work on that when the water pressure began to drop. We could do without hot water - we are practically camping anyway - but no water, that is a little different story, especially since we are not the only ones here. Long story short, the water pump 'died' (haven't buried it yet though) and we had to go get another one to replace it. It is in and running , thank the Lord.

That led up to another character development opportunity. Pumps don't usually come 'free'. One of the folks here decided that everyone should help pay for this 'added' expense so we figured out 'costs'. That led to a discussion of electrical expenses (which has been a sore spot here for a long time. There seems to be an opinion by some here that we 'get rich' ? by what is given us for utility assistance.) The comment was made that the figures I have shared may not have been the 'real bill'. I ended up printing out the bill and giving it to the person. After they left though, I temporarily 'lost it'. (Thankfully my hubby was a good sounding board and didn't hold a grudge.) The short of it, looking back, was that I had temporarily forgotten who I am in Christ. My family seems to have a real challenge when we are called anything close to 'liar'. (I think we were instilled early with a sense of honor, and I am thankful for that.) If someone questions my integrity, if there is no question in my mind, then why would I get upset? My brother later reminded me of the issue of identity (who I am in Christ) and that really helped me. One other thought that has helped me is to realized that even though the devil tries to shame me I don't need to 'accept' it no matter who it comes through.

Time is marching on and I have some celebrating to do so I need to bring this to a close. May I share with you that through it all God has not deserted me. God is in the business of 'growing me up' and one of His tools is for me to continue 'counting it all joy' when He leads me through experiences that draw me ever closer to Him. Knowing that God loves for me to be with Him (JOY) is one of the ways He uses in my life to lead me to also experience His kind of Peace. Jesus in my heart is the kind of Peace the world doesn't know anything about.

Peace I leave with you, Jesus reminds us. May you experience that kind of peace today.

Bringer of Peace