February 23, 2012

Run With Patience

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Fact:
I am not a patient person.
I'm not necessarily the type to stand there, tapping her foot in piqued intolerance, but I most certainly am not good at waiting or, as Shakespeare would call it, "Bearing it out" (even to the edge of doom!).
So I my conscience is always stung whenever I read the opening passage of Hebrews twelve.
"Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
I fall abominably short of the mark when it comes to patience, especially as it pertains to the weights and burdens of this world.
I'm brought to these thoughts and meditations today by my recently observing that a year- to the day- has past since a hundred thousand different things were set in motion- a domino effect almost- and I have come to know more burdens and besetting weights than I ever thought I would carry.
It has easily been the hardest year of my rather short existence.
Thankfully, it is also a year most of which I cannot recall outside of hazy, flat pictures in my mind: living in a state of malnourished starvation throughout said year will do that to you.
Regardless of what I can or cannot remember, though, I am still struggling with, and may for many years to come, the repercussions of what I did to myself, to my body.
I'm still struggling to carry the weight, the burdens of the past, the present, and the future.
And I am not doing so patiently.
But, upon rereading the verse, you will see that it doesn't instruct us to bear the weights with patience, but to lay them aside completely.
The difference between the two is the difference between living as a stranger to Christ, and being one of the saved, the loved sheep of His fold.
Bearing the weights of the world, carrying the sins, they are all what we do before we come to know Christ.
But, upon salvation, it is realized that Christ died so that we would not have to bear them, not even so that we would have the strength to, but so that we could lay them aside completely.
I, in all my sin, deserving fully the weights and burdens of this life and the fiery punishments, have been saved from having to carry the weight and suffer the eternal flames by the pure Son of God, who-in His infinite love for me- bore it all, and worse, in my place.
In your place.
So that I would not have to carry the weight of my own well-deserved burden, so that I could, instead, lay it aside,
He died. 
And so that I could claim this gift, He rose again.
I am constantly left in awe by this feat of love that was done on my behalf.
And yet I still am impatient.
I have the impertinence to look up and ask "Why?" when things aren't going how I so desire them to.
I am ridiculous enough to attempt to practically rip both the control of my life and the heavy burdens out of His capable hands, and place them wholly upon myself.
I am short-sighted enough to try to bear these pressing, difficult, heart-breaking burdens myself.
Why am I doing this?
My life, although ultimately quite short, looks like such a long road from where I currently stand.
And I can tell you it's not the path I'm looking at that makes it seem endless, for who can tell how long they will live?
It's the load I'm trying to carry by myself.
How to give up this burden? 
How do I,
Miss Impatience,
Miss I-Want-It-Now
(And this pertains to most everything: college, love, time, laughter, relief)
Build patience?
Well there's some excellent news out there for both me and any of my readers who struggle with the waiting game and their burdens as well.
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" - James 1:3
That's it.
The very complex, simple answer.
The very burdens I'm trying to carry are the things that will build my patience. 
Because, as I well know, they build my trust and faith in God.
They make me turn to Scripture and prayer,
They lead me to meditations like this, in which I see that I must let go the burdens, 
Give them to God,
Trust Him, 
And focus more on running towards Him, and less on what is surrounding me as I run.
And the trying of my faith, 
The building of my trust,
Will be the building of my patience.
No matter how long the road,
No matter what the load,
Look to the prize, 
Though there be miles to go.
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