Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More then ounces and pounds

High speed internet.
Fast food chains.
Drive-thru dry cleaning.
Call ahead waiting at restaurants.
3G, 4G....5G?
Cars that go from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds.
Interstates and freeways.
Express checkout lines at the grocery store.
"Rush delivery".

We are a country with a deadline and the patience of a two year old. We want what we want when we want it - which was five minutes ago. Our tolerance for the word "waiting" is minimal at best. We have other, better, things to do then sit around and kill time while the internet fires up or the restaurant cooks a burger made of real, honest to goodness animal meat.
The human mentality, at least in America, is to be in a hurry for the next thing. Results are the goal and we want them quickly and in rapid fire succession. Progress is key. Waiting means there is something wrong: either with the situation, circumstances, factors at play or person running the show. If something isn't happening in a positive direction and in the direction in which we desire, then something is flawed.
Everything about our society points to this mentality. Just look at the way people hit the gas with furry the millisecond a traffic light turns green. Look at the foot tapping at the impatience of the women in the express lane at the grocery store. Count the number of cars at the McDonald's drive thru on a Monday at noon. We are a people in a hurry. We are a people who don't want to delay the satisfaction gained by completing the task at hand
And what is the purpose of completing the thing in front of them? To be able to move on to the next thing. In our limited human scope, this is all we see. Complete this thing so that we can move onto the next thing. Soaking up the moment is a foreign concept. Movement, progress - that's where it's at.

For the past two years God has been working on me to slow down, stop striving for the next "thing", and simply rest in the here and now. Don't worry so much about what will come next. Don't concern yourself with the wait. Just live in this moment. That means accepting that progress might be slow, or at times non-existent. There will be days when everything feels like wheels stuck in ten feet of mud. You may not see movement. You may not feel productive. You may not understand how the routine motions of life are accomplishing anything. Be patient; hold tight and accept the time of waiting set before you. That is my message from God. He has been speaking it loud and clear for years now, just waiting for me to get the memo and heed it's command.
The message is coming in loud and clear. I can't force my body to gain weight at rapid speed or coerce it to have endless bounds of energy. Healing is a slow process that isn't always steady and, without patience, can be extremely agonizing. Yet, with patience, even waiting can be joyful and peaceful. The time between where you are and where you're going doesn't have to be filled with tension, stress and long, drawn out sighs. This time (the time in the desert place, as I like to call it) can actually be enjoyable.
That may be hard to believe. Our culture doesn't like to preach this sort of logic. It wants us to believe that we must be striving for something to be accomplishing anything. But that isn't the least bit Biblical. Actually, it is 100% man-made, human reasoning. The mentality of "do-do-do" takes away from the fundamental principle of allowing God to work, direct and guide. When we are only concerned with our next step we run the high risk of completely missing the steps (or pauses) God is trying to show us on His road map.
Human living is concerned with the power to make things happen. In my case that has come in the power to bring healing to my body. Countless people have prayed countless prayers for my body to receive healing and for my health to be restored. I am thankful to each and every one of those people, yet there is something bigger at work in my body and life then healing the physical body. Alistair Begg, one of my favorite preachers, wrote, "Although our contemporary preoccupation is with the power to heal, we err by failing to understand the miracle of God's grace in granting the power necessary for endurance and patience." I love this principle. We want to see results yet God is showing His power in the interim. He is proving himself great and mighty when there is no earthly "progress". There is power in the endurance He provides and the sustaining He gives to those who seek Him and rely upon His greatness.
When we don't see something happening it is human nature to throw up our hands in frustration, proclaiming stagnation and failure. We become exasperated. We throw in the towel. But, if we measure "progress" in God's terms we will find that the earthly scale doesn't fit. We can't calculate how far we have come, results or progress by what we see. Sometimes, the greatest progressions forward happen when there is nothing to show for it: no pay check, no pounds gained or lost, no physical, outward change. God isn't limited to what can be seen. He works from the inside-out. When we look only to what can be seen by the naked eye, we miss God's best.

On my own human scale I've watched it creep up slowly over the past month with numbers that would make anyone cringe (they are so severely low I won't get into specifics). One ounce here, a few ounces there. If my spirit was sustained by this type of progress I would be beaten down and discouraged. The pounds are so slow in coming that it makes you wonder how anything significant will ever come about in regards to my weight. Yet, I can proclaim with the utmost confidence that I am not tired of waiting and I am filled with hope for the future. If God makes me wait for another year to see another ounce that statement will still hold true because my hope isn't found in what number comes up on the scale. My hope is found in the glory of God's goodness and His unfailing power to do wonderful things in my life in His perfect timing (key word: HIS). There will be times He wants to grow patience and endurance in me instead of weight. He uses those times to strengthen my faith and obedience. Not a moment is wasted. In fact, some of the periods that look completely idle are the periods of greatest progress. Those are the times when faith is stretched, challenged and grown. When things are moving along at a rapid clip it is too easy to miss the spiritual growth. God likes to slow things down to get our attention.

Some people might look at my condition and proclaim that I am being foolish to wait this long for weight to come back on. I'm sure there are people who would call me downright irresponsible or stupid. Let them have their opinion. There words don't hurt or offend me. They are entitled to their opinions, no matter how much I may disagree with them. What they are missing is the work God is doing right here, right now, apart from the scale and apart from what size pants I wear. He may not be adding weight to my body but he is adding strength to my soul and Godly understanding to my spirit. He is building my body in ways food and pounds couldn't ever accomplish. He is building me into the women of God He created me to be.
I would take that kind of growth over twenty pounds and my ideal weight, hands down, any day of the week.

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