Today I made it to Harvest, a young adult service at McLean Presbyterian Church. The message this evening was on patience, and the reading from Mark 14: 32-42. Pastor James defined patience as being "long suffering;" but in the gospel of Mark, Jesus shows us patience without anger, and instead responds to the sleeping disciples with grace. Pastor James had the congregation thinking of things that tested their patience - we said traffic, people at work, students in our classrooms.
Pastor James said that patience presents us with a challenge and an encouragement. The challenge is we presume to know what His timetable his for us, and the plan He has laid out for us. Or, we challenge His timetable, and try to take matters into our hands. As we rebel against God's timetable, we rebel against God himself: we essentially want to make ourselves the center, and have God rotate around us. The encouragement, however, is that God is eternally patient with us. We don't need to see his examples of patience, we need to realize we are living through His patience with each of us, every day.
As the message went on, I reminded myself that patients need patience, something I posted on this time last year. I have come a long way in a year, but having ongoing medical concerns is a constant test of patience.
And then someone had a seizure.
There was a noise, a fall, and the room went silent. Then a rush of those clustered around the fallen person to try to render aid. Fortunately, their medical seemed known to those around them. But it was terribly silent, and everyone quickly realized we were powerless to do anything ourselves. EMTs were called and came to take the person to the ER while the congregation prayed. This seemed such a visceral lesson in patience. We who could do nothing to aid but pray, sat and waited to hear that the person was okay. And the person who had seized, I couldn't help but think they must be enormously tested with this ongoing condition - this condition that would even take them away from church and the support and community it provided.
These tests of patience remind us that we can only force our own timetables and plans on God so much, before He humbles us and makes us realize that we don't even control our own bodies, let alone our own plans.