“Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7 HCSB)
A song played on the radio, catching my attention: “While I’m Waiting,” by John Waller. I didn’t catch all the words, and I didn’t write out the ones I did. One segment dealt with service, another with joy. That’s all I recall of the song, and I haven’t heard it since. I’ve thought quite a bit about this topic, though, which seems to present itself to me occasionally. I can get anxious, thinking that I’m doing too little here on Earth. In such times I take solace from James’s encouragement to “be patient until the Lord’s coming.” Take it easy on myself, let the Spirit enliven me, prompt me, into the action He desires.T
There are also times I’m overwhelmed, feeling assaulted, even abused. “We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed,” wrote Paul (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 HCSB). In verse 16, we read: “Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.” I suppose that isn’t encouraging, but at least Paul is saying there are greater things at work within me, things that count eternally: The Spirit works within me to renew me, prepare me. Thank G-d for His Word, a lamp and a light. Through His Word I see my feet to avoid stumbling; I see ahead as the path winds away toward our Heavenly goal.
One morning, I read in a devotional reading by Charles Spurgeon, “It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus, should be unknown and a stranger here below. Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien.” It’s like we are all visitors in a foreign country and for the moment are not able to get home. To relate it practically to my analytical brain side, I think of the time I traveled from my home in the U.S. to Siberia. There were two languages spoken in Ulan-Ude, one for the indigenous people, the Buriyates, and the Russian, for those descendents of exiled Russians. I spoke neither. I did have an English-speaking person that helped me around. And I had a return flight booked in advance. But what if I’d landed there and found I was stuck there until called to go home? What would I do?
Perhaps I’d find a guide book that would tell me of places to visit. There would be concrete examples of things I could do while waiting for “The Call.” I could hang out with the local people, learn the language, see what I might do as I fit in to their life. Being a foreign citizen, certainly I’d want to follow the prohibitions of my own culture, while respecting those of the local peoples. The activities in which I’d become involved would be a product of my own tastes, personality, and the interaction of the Spirit of G-d within me. For me, who loves to explore, loves to meet people, to interact, there would be plenty to do. I probably wouldn’t read all that much in a guide book; rather, I’d do a lot of wandering around on my own, see what I can see, discovering things for myself without the preconceived notions of what someone else saw and wrote about. But that’s me.
Not all of us have the same built-in temperament, the same personality. What we do, individually, while we wait to go home to Heaven, is a product of who we are, who we are willing to be with the Spirit’s work, and who our Creator wants us to be. There are some general guide lines, to be sure. For instance, Paul exhorts us to excel in everything: faith; speech; knowledge; diligence; love; and in all things be generous. (2 Cor 8:7) James tells us he’ll show us his faith through his action. We are to do all things for the glory and praise of G-d. Y’shuaJesus tells us to make disciples of all people. How we display our faith, how we make disciples, how we love, is a product of our spirit in cooperation with the Spirit of the Living G-d.
Even as individual personalities, we who have accepted the Lordship of Y’shuaJesus, are family. We are the people of the Messiah. We are The Church. While individually we differ, corporately, as a people, we are one in the Lord. We can come together, as family, in worship and adoration of our Lord. We come together to encourage one another in our individual ways, in our unique lives and paths. We who have been sealed, have our names written in the Book of Live, are one people in Messiah Y’shuaJesus.
I pray for patience as I wait on Earth: patience toward myself for I’m a work in progress; patience in you, for you’re a work in progress too. If you want to stroll through the market in AnyCity of the this Earth, that’s okay. Maybe I’ll ride a bus south, to a place on a beach just to see who is there, and what’s there for me. But when we come together, even if I pray in English and you in Igbo or Spanish or Hindi, we praise, we worship, the One, the Only, Father of all, Father of our Lord Y’shuaJesus, in the power and unity of the Holy Spirit.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .