Patience In The Process
Brandon and I moved to a new apartment two weeks ago. We traded in a 650 square foot, wood paneled basement for a 1150 square foot top floor apartment. Our main motivation for moving across town was for more space and more sunlight, but if I'm honest my soul also needed a change of environment. So after apartment hunting for a few months, we ended up here. While the space and sunlight are making room for the Lord to encourage and re-invigorate my soul, a new struggle is making it's way to the surface.
As I sit in my new living room, I'm well aware of the things that still need to be put away, things left to organize, things to buy, or even ways that I would like to decorate the space. And I feel overwhelmed by a feeling of wanting it to swiftly and suddenly be perfect and complete. I'm struggling to have patience with the process, but the process is precisely what this apartment and my soul need.
I spent two weeks staring into our second bedroom, which will double as a storage room and guest bedroom for friends and family. In the meantime, it's primarily storage. Boxes were everywhere, and things we didn't know what to do with in the moment were spread about the room: tennis rackets, kitchen appliances that we don't use very often, and office supplies. I spent two weeks staring into the room, wanting everything to finally be put away and organized but not knowing where to start. Two days ago an idea came to my mind about how to use an old closet organizer to organize all of the big items into the closet. The majority of the odd items are now neatly organized and all that remains is an empty bed and office supplies that need a home. Patience with the process.
How tempting is the struggle to not be patient, to not wait for the process to do the work. My apartment is an example of a normal inward struggle. How often do we struggle to patiently wait for the process? Waiting for the package or mail to arrive. Waiting for that guy to ask us out. Waiting to hear back from the job interview. Waiting to see the number on the scale go down. Waiting to see our health change or waiting for healing. We're all waiting for something, and it's so hard to be patient in the process.
I'm learning that there is work being done in the process of patiently waiting. Waiting doesn't mean that nothing is happening. As I stared into our spare room, I was tempted to despair that our apartment would never be tidy and organized, but I needed the time for my brain to think of using the closet organizer. As I look at my own life, there are so many things that I'm waiting for, and so many processes that are going on in my own heart, but God is doing a work in the process.
I spent most of the winter and spring working through illness. What ended up being gastritis (an inflammation of my stomach lining caused by stress) led to a four month process of waiting for the Lord to heal my stomach, but it was also four months of God using the process to root my joy and hope not in being healed physically but rather in the healing that Jesus can do in our hearts spiritually. I wanted an end result, but what I needed was the process.
Nowhere is this more true than in the spiritual life of a Christian. Those that are in Christ hope for the end result of their faith (eternal life with Jesus), but in the meantime we endure the process of fighting sin and growing to become more holy like Jesus. We want the end, but in order to get there we have to go through the process. And while the process can be difficult, it's worth it for the glory that is to come. When I think of this process, I think of what Paul wrote to the church in Rome:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:18-25)
If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. This is my prayer for us: that if we are waiting for something in this life, that we would wait for it with patience, looking for how the process might be preparing us for the end result.
If you are in Christ, there is an ultimate hope and end in sight for your waiting, whatever your waiting might be. If you're waiting for healing, there is a physical and spiritual healing ahead in eternal life with Jesus. If you're waiting to see those pounds go down on the scale, there is the hope of a redeemed body ahead. If you're waiting for the end of your sufferings, there is a glory that has yet to be revealed. There is hope in the process, but we have to wait for it with patience.
Today I'm seeing glimpses of that hope while patiently enduring the process of moving and in my own physical healing. I'm not sure what being patient in the process looks like for you, my friend, but I'm praying that the Lord helps you to patiently wait and that you would be encouraged and reminded of the future hope of glory with Jesus.
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