This morning, as I held the recent reflection series we just completed in my mind, I talked with God about why that series was important. Besides what we discussed about how God feels about our hearts, why was it important to discuss it in such detail at the time that we did?
I thought about the city image we’ve been discussing here for a while, and then was reminded of a more recent post offered here about a darkened hallway and the entrance of the light of Jesus into that place. Do you remember that post?
In it, we talked about the intent of Jesus to come to you in the places you are. We talked about his desire to find you. But what happens when he does?
On that post, one of our community members, Lisa, offered a beautiful and perceptive comment about the quality of experiencing Jesus in a place like that:
That image of Jesus offering light … is hugely powerful for me. There is such gentleness and safety in it — not a God who forces, but who invites, and waits patiently, with love and peace in the waiting, and not condemnation or guilt.
Isn’t that beautiful? I’m so glad she shared that she has come to experience Jesus in that way.
Also as part of her comment, Lisa mentioned a book called Stumbling Toward Faith by Renee Altson that includes a meditation on the parable Jesus told about the ninety-nine sheep and the one that was lost. In that meditation, Renee identified strongly with that one lost sheep and, when found by Jesus and invited back to the fold, she felt herself unready to return. Renee ends the story, Lisa says, by sharing that the shepherd, Jesus, “sat and waited with her for a long time.”
The shepherd, Jesus, sat and waited with her for a long time … until she was ready to take the next step.
On my personal blog, Lilies Have Dreams, I’ve shared recently about a long and intentional journey I took with Jesus through the woods. It was a season of deep formation for me — a time when I learned some new truths about my heart, grew in a lot of ways, and experienced pain and joy at varying increments.
What often stood out to me during those several months I traveled through the woods with Jesus was the infinite patience he displayed as he journeyed with me, no matter where on the path we found ourselves. Whether I was struggling to receive a new truth, grieving newly discovered pieces of my heart, or basking in the joy of God’s grace and presence and love — whether I experienced light or darkness at any point on the path — Jesus stayed with me and was fully present and waited every single time.
There was never any pressure or expectation to hurry up and get to the next step of the journey. He just stood and waited with me for as long as I needed.
As you journey into discovering the truth of your heart, what is it like for you to consider receiving the infinite patience of God with you in each discovery?