Sunday, September 18, 2016

Patiently

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

The Lord said, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” – Genesis 15:1 (NIV)

Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. – Hebrews 6:15

Lectionary texts: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13

I'm a person who can be very patient in some things, and totally impatient in others. Working with somebody who's making progress little by little, even if slow? Sure, I can be with them patiently for weeks. Wait at a stoplight for more than 45 seconds? Sorry, I have no patience.

It's interesting how the word "patiently" appears in Hebrews 6 today as an adverb; it modifies the verb, showing how the action is done. What was Abraham doing? Enduring. How was he doing it? Patiently.

A lot of Abraham's life, and a lot of life with God in general, is spent looking toward something. Today we have the language of "reward" or "promise" for the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham. Maybe in our own lives we're looking toward something new God has set as a vision for us to work toward, a milestone on the journey, or even the ultimate fulfillment of eternal life. While we live through our ordinary days with that someday in mind, we are doing more than just waiting around. We live actively with hope, instead of putting life on pause until some blessed thing happens. We live life actively - but we do it patiently, knowing that there's more to come, trusting that God's word for us will be fulfilled. And the active life we live is shaped like the promise that's still on the way. Trusting that in the end everything will be as God says, we take action today that relies on God.

God of grace, thank you for patiently transforming our lives over time, and calling us forward to the next step along the way. Help us to live and act patiently too, not despairing, not being distracted, not denying that your milestone is ahead, but living now as you would have us life, in hope and faith.

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