Practicing Patience

 

Spring is so near that I can feel it beneath my feet. The recent rains have softened the earth, and the mild temperatures are thawing the ground. Bulbs that my daughter planted in the fall are already beginning to emerge. A sudden freeze would damage these tender little plants, so I’m hoping the snowless winter continues. Yet I need to remind myself that it is only February.

So much of our lives are spent waiting, and learning to be patient in the interim. Sometimes we jot a date on the calendar that we can anticipate. Then we count the days, crossing each one off as it passes. But other times the date is unknown and every day drags by without an end in sight. Those are the most difficult days.

✝️ ✝️ ✝️

Lessons from Lent

As we approach the season of Lent, I was thinking today about the 40 days ahead. During this time each year, we remember Jesus’ ministry on earth — his teaching, his healing, his selfless sacrifice, and ultimately his death on the cross.

Just imagine knowing that you would one day die for the sins of others. In your heart, you’ve known your purpose and mission since you were a child. Your life — and death — would be the fulfillment of prophecy, a promise you were sent to keep. You have no idea yet what day your death will occur, but assuredly it will. But in the meantime, you patiently live your life, fully embracing each new day and deeply loving mankind, while knowing the end is approaching.

I don’t know how Jesus had the patience to endure such a life and painful death, but I’m sure glad he did! Where would we be today without his steadfast love and guidance to teach us patience and perseverance?

What a joy it is, knowing that at the end of those 40 days of anticipation, Jesus defeats death, and walks out of the tomb!

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”‭‭ – Romans‬ ‭15:4-6‬

The In-Between Days

We have reached that odd time between seasons. Winter is not officially over, and spring has not begun. Although the mornings are frosty-cold, there is a mildness in the air.

New Life

There is a stark contrast between a bitter January morning, and a chilly March morning. The earth is softer, and patches of green appear on the lawn. We awaken to the robins’ songs, and end our days with the spring peepers’ chorus.

Our home is caught between seasons too, most notably in the form of projects. Every sunny window is filled with plants that are almost ready for the garden. They were started from seeds in the basement nursery, then moved to the kitchen and dining room after being re-potted. Seedlings include cantaloupes, Delicata squash, zucchini, cucumbers, basil and several variety of tomatoes, all waiting to set their roots into the ground.

A Fresh Look

Meanwhile, upstairs we have been hard at work replacing our worn wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood flooring. So far we’ve only completed half of the hallway. The detail work and endless hitches along the way remind us of our century-old home in Massachusetts that we renovated from top to bottom over 30 years ago. The renovations we are doing today in Virginia remind us that our knees and backs have aged 30 years as well. 😉

We are making these updates while looking ahead to the future, when we will sell this house and embark on our retirement. And while we are not opposed to updating our next home, we hope our renovations are limited to painting and pruning.

I’ve been thinking about these “in-between” days, when we are halfway between ending one stage and beginning the next. That’s very much like my life here on earth — I am somewhat comfortable where I am, but I never feel completely at home.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”‭‭ – John‬ ‭14:1-4‬

The in-between times call for quiet patience and steadfast trust. There is so much hope in our future!

Just as surely as the buds will bloom each spring, Easter morning will return each year to remind us of the hope of the empty tomb, and the eternal home that awaits us.