There are a lot of things that God is teaching me right now. If I had to pick one to spotlight, I think it would be patience. My mind is drawn to 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul writes a beautiful piece on Love. The first thing he says about Love is that "Love is patient.." I remember when 1 Corinthians 13 really hit home for me. A little over a year ago, I was listening to a sermon by Tim Mackie (from the Bible Project) when the Holy Spirit flooded me with the humbling realization that there were so many ways in which I wasn't loving God or other people. The Holy Spirit specifically convicted me about being impatient with other people.
Fast forward a year. I am faced with a couple situations that require waiting. I am in a career that I am not passionate about. My dating relationship looks a lot different than I had always dreamed (mostly because of me....). I am a leader in our 20s Group, which has seen a lot of division and required many hard conversations. So my career, dating relationship, and small group all appear to have no light at the end of the tunnel. I can feel the impatience and frustration building but there isn't anyone that I specifically feel that way towards. Am I just impatient with everyone? Am I just an impatient person? Without anyone specifically to be impatient towards, the Holy Spirit helped me realize that I am being impatient with God himself. He is the one who planned every step and the one who placed me in my current circumstances. God is the one who is withholding this so-called "light at the end of the tunnel". So why should I wait for God? Why should I be patient?
Here's why: Christ is patient with me. He stays with me through all of my striving and all of my disbelief. Every time I put something above him, he's there. Every time I try to take complete control of my life, he's there. Every time I feel like the only option is running because I desire relief over reward, he's there. And this is not a passive presence. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Jesus, describing the Father's love for his children, says in verse 20 "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." That verse changed my life 8 years ago and I still am amazed by the Father's compassion for a son who has turned his back from him. I am amazed that his compassion for me is still there when I have failed countless times. If I was my own project, I would be a work-in-progress way past the scheduled completion date. But I guess God doesn't see it that way. Talk about patience.
To put it simply, this is what God is teaching me right now: When I turn back to him, he STILL comes running...