Monday, May 25, 2015

Trying my patience

Friend Loy quotes one A.B. Simpson:

God may send you, dear friends, some costly packages. Do not worry if they are done up in rough wrappings. You may be sure there are treasures of love, and kindness, and wisdom hidden within. If we take what He sends, and trust Him for the goodness in it, even in the dark, we shall learn the meaning of the secrets of Providence. “

Meanwhile, friend Bill quotes G.K. Chesterton:

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

As I look at those quotes from my own perch while trying to ignore the shards of broken metaphors on the ground below me, Simpson and Chesterton seem each to be talking about patience. It makes sense to put them on the same team, with Simpson at shortstop and Chesterton patrolling center field. The reason I think that is because Simpson calls directly for trust in God despite appearances, and four sentences gives him enough glove to scoop up even a hard grounder.

The man behind Simpson has more turf to cover, yet the parabola inscribed in the air by a long fly ball holds no terrors for Chesterton. He knows that for a living thing to stand against the current of the stream around it implies a willingness to endure opposition. That's a pretty good definition of patience, and it's more focused than Simpson's because Chesterton stands farther out, and so has to put more mustard on the ball to get it back to the infield after a catch.

The thing about impatience, as I'm slowly learning, is that it's always a marker for failure to trust: When things go well, we say “More right now!” and when things go badly, we say “Make it stop!” And by “we,” of course, I mean “I.” But note the hint of pride in both reactions, and the unwillingness to wear the bridle of time.

Patience seems to be the fix for that anxiety. Courted long enough, it flowers into trust, so that when Jesus (or a friend doing His work) eventually ambles up and says something like “Desperado, Why don't you come to your senses?” we actually hear and recognize Him. I hope that's true. I need to believe that right now. Who says the Road to Emmaus can't also be a ranch or a ball field? 

In the words of that underrated theologian, Tom Petty, "the waiting is the hardest part."

No comments:

Post a Comment