Tag Archives: patience

That’s Life

Adi Holzer [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
The life is like a tightrope walking. Handcolored etching «Lebenslauf» (English: «Life» or even «Biography») by Adi Holzer 1997 (Work number 850). It is a part of the Rosentaler Suite from the year 1997.
Life – a rollercoster ride of experiences, pressures, joys, thrills, pain, so many different possibilities – good and bad.Sometimes life seems hard to bare.  The experiences that come upon us; the things we see happening to others that we find hard to believe, never mind understand; life and all its colours.

Colossians 1:11-20 (CEV)

11 His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.

12 I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light. 13 God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who forgives our sins and sets us free.

15 Christ is exactly like God,
    who cannot be seen.
He is the first-born Son,
    superior to all creation.
16 Everything was created by him,
everything in heaven
    and on earth,
everything seen and unseen,
including all forces
    and powers,
and all rulers
    and authorities.
All things were created
    by God’s Son,
and everything was made
    for him.

17 God’s Son was before all else,
and by him everything
    is held together.
18 He is the head of his body,
    which is the church.
He is the very beginning,
the first to be raised
    from death,
so that he would be
    above all others.

19 God himself was pleased
    to live fully in his Son.
20 And God was pleased
    for him to make peace
by sacrificing his blood
    on the cross,
so that all beings in heaven
    and on earth
would be brought back to God.

I imagine, what we want most is for the bad things to go, to not have to face them in ourselves or others.  But perhaps that is not life?

So what Paul asks for are patience and endurance.

Oh Lord, I could do me with both of those.  Patience when things go wrong, when things aren’t fast enough, when I can’t get any answers, when I wanted something different, when I’m waiting, waiting, waiting…

And endurance.  To be able to stick with what happens.  Strength to continue.

I am pretty low on both of those qualities.  So the only place I am going to get them from is God.  His strength to keep on going, to live with, to get through.

Paul suggests that is the way to true happiness.  I’m sure it is.  The only way to cope with life in all it’s little (and big) surprises.  The only way to be truly strong.  Not to spend our time wondering ‘what if’, or ‘I wish that had/hadn’t happened’.  The strength to be.

Some people have had some horrific experiences.  They are truly awful, seemingly impossible to bear.  And yet, somehow life does go on.  Never the same, but life with a new shade.  Somehow, we manage to endure and find the strength.

I’m not trying to belittle those experiences, or offer glib answers – I’ve been to a few of those places myself and it is not good.

But the rest of what Paul says goes on to explain (if such things can be explained), how I learned to cope and to live again.  Though don’t let anyone tell you grief and pain pass – they don’t, they merely change.

Jesus was God’s precious son.  Jesus and God were together in the beginning, they made everything they had together.  God lived and breathed in Jesus.  And yet, God had to sit back and watch whilst his son was killed by those who failed to understand God.  Failed to grasp what he was asking them and showing them, and felt the need to get rid.

God knows pain, excruciating pain.  He knows how life can go, how different from what was intended, how far from the ideal.  God, in Jesus, knows what it is to be human, to feel, to hurt, to grieve.  God knows my pain, and he knows yours.

That’s how I can find strength in him.

Jesus took the pain.  The rejection.  The fear.

In doing so, he took ours too.  He took my pain back to God.  And that is why God gives me strength.  Because he knows.  He feels.  He shares. He gives me his strength when I have none of my own.  He is holding things together when I can’t.

And I need that.

Thank you Lord,
that you know me,
you understand me,
you care about me.

Thank you that you know pain,
you understand what it is to be human,
you didn’t shy away from pain
but took it.

Thank you for sharing in my pain,for giving me strength
and patience,
when I have none of my own.

I give to you
my tears,
my sadness,
my pain,
my fear,
my hurt

and I receive your strength

This is still a song that can break me

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God’s Wonderful Love – Psalm 103

(By David.)

The Lord’s Wonderful Love

103 With all my heart
    I praise the Lord,
    and with all that I am
    I praise his holy name!
With all my heart
    I praise the Lord!
    I will never forget
    how kind he has been.

The Lord forgives our sins,
heals us when we are sick,
    and protects us from death.
His kindness and love
    are a crown on our heads.
Each day that we live,
    he provides for our needs
    and gives us the strength
    of a young eagle.

For all who are mistreated,
    the Lord brings justice.
He taught his Law to Moses
    and showed all Israel
    what he could do.

The Lord is merciful!
He is kind and patient,
    and his love never fails.

What things God has done for us – forgiving us, protecting us, healing us in ways we could never imagine, providing for us, bringing justice.  He is merciful, kind and patient.  God and his love never fail us – that is a God worth praising.

Thank you God.

I bring my praises to you today.

Going Along Together

Whenever you set of on a journey, you end up travelling with people who are going the same way.  Be that on public transport or travelling down the road in the apparently private bubble of your car, your journey is affected by others on the same route.  You cannot choose your travelling companions, they are all  just people trying to get to the same place as you.  Some may be commuters, some day-trippers, some on their way to difficult or important appointments, but you’re all going the same way at the same time.

Unity with Christ

4 As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.

Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. As the Scriptures say,

“When he went up
to the highest place,
he led away many prisoners
and gave gifts to people.”

When it says, “he went up,” it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10 This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe.

11 Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12 so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13 This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.

14 We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15 Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16 of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.

We are all going the same way.  We are all journeying with God to the place he leads us.  Just as on any journey, we cannot choose our travelling companions – they are all just people like us, trying to follow the calling of God.

And so we are called to,

Patiently put up with each other and love each other (v2)

I love that phrasing from the CEV, to patiently put up with each other…

I confess that on a recent holiday flight that left at 6am with lots of tired and fractious people, patience was wearing considerably thin (especially when a child screamed until it was sick before we’d even pushed back from the gate!), and I felt in no mood to put up with some of the people on that flight, but you are stuck in a metal tube together for the duration, so you have to find some way to co-exist.

Oh, if only everyone was perfect like me…

Yet, I do expect people to patiently put up with me and my demands and foibles.

And so the church is encouraged to live in peace.  After all we are one body, one people going the same way.  We all claim God as our Father, therefore we have a basis for common ground – more so than people who have chosen to holiday in one place, or are all trying to get to one city or down one motorway.

Christ has chosen us all, with all our different skills and gifts, and wants us to learn to serve one another, so we grow strong.

That is not all stamping our feet, demanding that our needs are met, or things are done the way we like it – it is working together to make the journey a good one, and helping one another along the way.

If you saw someone struggling with a large bag or a pushchair, would you help them?

If someone needed seats together, and you were alone at a table of four, would you give your seat up?

If someone was struggling to stand and their were no seats left, would you offer them yours?

Does this kind of behaviour carry forward into our life and journey of faith??

The final admonition to the Ephesians is,

Stop behaving like children!

Hmm… Do I have to hold my hands up to that?  In honesty before God?

People who have chosen to follow the way of faith have so much in common, so let’s get on with loving one another.

Forgive me Lord,

when I am impatient,

focussing on my needs,

and not those of others.

Forgive me when I am childish,

and want it all to be about me,

and my feelings.

Help me to love

in your love;

to see the gifts of others,

and let them be used;

grant me

humility

and gentleness,

I pray