IS 35:1-6, 10, JAS 5:7-10, MT 11:2-11
“Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord..” (JAS 5:10)
#522 – “The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant”. He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.”
The character of Veruca in “Willy Wonka” gives us a pretty good example of what an impatient brat looks like. She wants everything right now! In my own house, we get impatient waiting for our Christmas Cactus to bloom knowing that it only blooms at Christmas and maybe one other time during the year – that’s what makes it so awesome. Yet we want it all the time.
In our first reading we hear once again from Isaiah telling us what it will be like when the Lord arrives. However, we have to remember that Jesus doesn’t come for 700 more years after Isaiah. How much could he have doubted by not seeing what God was telling him would come about. Worse yet, how was he perceived by those he was preaching to who would have thought he was bonkers?
Even James is reminding us to have patience as the prophets did. This can be hard in a society where everything is given to us instantly through technology. We want things right here and right now… even our prayers answered.
What happens when we start to lose our patience? Even the most confident of men can begin to doubt. John the Baptist, who Jesus calls the greatest man to ever come from a woman (ljfd;l), sends a note to Jesus from prison asking Him if He is really “the One.” He knew, yet it wasn’t going like he thought it would. So, when Jesus responds, he points back to all the prophecies Isaiah wrote about that are being fulfilled through what Christ is doing.
A lack of patience can be dangerous because we lose our focus. In the story of the Nativity, the Innkeeper is a prime example. He had the parents of the Messiah in front of him asking for a room, yet he was so caught up in himself he missed God before his very eyes. Expectations, coupled with wanting things instantly, is a dangerous mixture to become too self-absorbed, missing the beauty of how God is using us, what He is asking us to do, and all the miracles He places in our life everyday.
Dear Lord, you sent so many prophets and living Saints to be our guides as we journey toward heaven. In this time of Advent, allow me to see how you are using me to be a mouthpiece for You. Even when I don’t see results immediately in what you have called me to do, or simply being who you created me to be, give me the strength to remain strong and patient in your timing. Let Your will be done unto me, and I pray to focus on what is right in front of me at this moment. ~Amen
When the trials of the day are overwhelming or your schedule is just filled to the top, pause and take notice of how you are treating others around you. Are you speaking with kindness and love, or has your lack of patience caused you to become someone else? Show your family, co-workers, and friends the best of you, even when you can only think about what has to be done next.
Reflect on situations or people where your patience has been lacking. How can you do a better job of letting Christ into the center of it all so you can see a bigger picture of God at work. Make an effort to then put your patience on display with compassion, trust, and an optism that God is at work.