I’ve shared with you that I’ve been walking through a season of difficult questions. I keep bringing those questions to Jesus — sometimes in anger, sometimes in grief. And I shared yesterday that I’m aware through all this struggle that Jesus values me and the struggle.
I shared that he values you in the same way, too.
This morning, I became aware of yet another aspect of Jesus in the mix of all this: his infinite patience.
At this point, it feels like Jesus and I have been talking about this struggle for forever.
Really, it’s just been about a month.
But every time I join him on the beach in a time of personal prayer, this is the immediate place I go. Sometimes we’re walking into the sunset. Sometimes we’re sitting on the shoreline crest. Sometimes we’re stopped in the sand, facing each other, and I’m waving my hands wildly about, bumping up against the limits of my human understanding.
He just keeps being with me in it.
A lot of times in the struggle, I’m talking so much that I won’t let him get a word in edgewise. He’s fine with that. He keeps listening.
Sometimes in the struggle, my heart is pained so much that I don’t want to listen to him, even if he did have something to say. I put a wall between us as I look out at the ocean and contemplate the waves and my struggle. He’s okay with that, too. He gives me my space.
So far in this struggle, I have received his ongoing infinite patience.
He has all the time in the world with me on this.
When I did finally give up one day and surrender my stymied questioning, at least for the moment, he didn’t try to talk back to me about it. All he did was hold me and sing over me.
This morning was perhaps the first time in all of this long struggle that I actually listened to him.
I made my case yet one more time, and then I listened. It was morning, perhaps around 8:30, and we were walking south on the beach. The sun was not yet warm. The sand was cold and wet beneath our bare feet.
I had stopped talking, and we walked quietly for a few moments. He knew I was listening.
And do you know what he did?
He looked up at the sky for a minute. He looked over at me and smiled. And then he looked back up at the sky and started, slowly, talking to me about the creation story.
He took me back to before the beginning of time.
It was a long story. We are still, in fact, talking about it. And I became so aware during this morning’s walk that he will take as much time as is needed to do this conversation justice.
There were several times in the conversation when I grew impatient. I had things to do and people to see today. I couldn’t take the fullness of time needed to cycle through the entire creation story, attendant with all my noticing and my questions along with it, all in the space of one morning walk.
That was okay too. We’ll still be there tomorrow. He’ll still be there. Ready to pick things up right where we last left off.
How might you receive the patience of God toward you right where you are today?