“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and take courage; wait for the Lord!”—Psalm 27:13-14
“Patience is a grace as difficult as it is necessary, and as hard to come by as it is precious when it is gained.”—Charles Spurgeon
Patience. Perhaps when you were a child, someone older and wiser told you that patience is a virtue. Some of us seem to be born with an abundant store of patience. These are the people who lend us useful perspective and a healthy dose of common sense when we are near our wit’s end. Many of us struggle to have patience. We don’t like to wait in lines. We can’t abide the “traffic” that tourist season brings. We are always eager to move on to the next project. We don’t like to burn daylight.
Even the most patient among us has found the pandemic to be a tiresome challenge. First came fear and uncertainty. Then, there were slow months of waiting for a vaccine. Next, we had to allow time for more and more of the population to be vaccinated. Just when it felt that we were within sight of the finish line, a fourth wave of COVID-19 has us back in our masks and minding our social distance. We are ready for all this to be over and for life to return to “normal,” including our church life.
Like it or not, waiting is inescapable in times like this. The psalms and prophets speak of waiting on the Lord, a posture of faithful, quiet anticipation. Heroes of the faith, like David, Ruth, and Isaiah, were able to see that God was at work, even in the midst of hardship. These role models in the faith might have some sage words to help us in this waiting time.
Trust. When we remember that God has been at work in the past, it’s easier to trust that the Lord is present and active, here and now. Take some time to remember the ways that God has helped and blessed you. Then, consider your life now. Is there goodness of the Lord to be found amid the frustration of this waiting time?
Seek. Come into God’s presence through worship, contemplation, and study. Time constrained by COVID-19 can be time used to deepen your relationship with Jesus. Set aside ten minutes daily for silent, holy listening. Read your favorite devotional and ponder scripture from a fresh perspective. Make a weekly commitment to Sunday worship, at church or at home through gifts of technology.
Pray. The Lord is a wonderful listener. Let God know how you are feeling and ask for the gifts of peace and patience. Ask God to help others. From local folks facing big problems to countries with limited healthcare and vaccine access, this world needs prayer. When we make the loving commitment to intercede for others, we are reoriented. Our frustration and impatience are eased as we acknowledge the trials faced by others.
We may feel like we are at the end of our pandemic rope, but have patience, my friends. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and take courage; wait for the Lord.
“The principle part of faith is patience.”—George MacDonald
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”—Isaiah 40:3