A GOOD WORD

Start: Mon, July 20   End: Thu, August 27 | 9:30am

Patiently Trusting

 

By Dave Veerman

 

I need to make a confession: I struggle with impatience. Maybe you can identify, but I want answers, solutions, and progress immediately—no need to wait. I’m reminded of the man who prayed, “Lord give me patience, and I want it NOW!” These days, our patience certainly has been tested. How long, we wonder, will this pandemic plague us? How long will our politicians dither, bicker, and blather and do so little when so much needs to be done? How long before sanity arrives, and order is restored? My impatience leads to anger, exacerbated by the continual stream of negative news and pundits’ pitiful pronouncements. Lately my favorite word seems to be “idiot.” Years ago, a counselor friend told me that depression is often “frozen anger.” So that’s the next step in this progression. Don’t worry, I’m not clinically depressed (not yet, at least), but I’m often feeling down, without an obvious reason.

 

What’s the answer? God’s sovereignty, of course (something we Reformed types are big on)—understanding that God is in control and that I need to trust his timing. But knowing that truth is not enough—I need to let it take hold of me, sinking deep into my heart. This doesn’t mean that I should simply wait patiently for him; I also need to keep acting on what I know to be true: praying, confessing, listening, reading the Word, loving, speaking the truth, and serving. God is truly “in control,” but I need to submit, to let him control me. It also helps to look back and see how God has worked in my life, how he has led me through times and frustrations even more difficult than these. Another test of patience has been our senior pastor search—again, we may cry with David, “How long, O LORD” (Psalm 6:3; 35:17; 90:13). Years ago, I remember reading these words from 1 Timothy 5:22a: “Lay hands suddenly on no man.” I thought Paul was telling his young pastor mentee to stay out of fights. (That’s the King James Version for you.) Later I learned that, rather, this was an admonition to not be quick to ordain (“lay hands on”) someone to the ministry. My seminary professor Dr. Perry once said, “It’s better to have people ask, ‘Why isn’t he ordained yet?’ than to say, ‘How did he ever get ordained!’” The New Living Translation reads, “Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader.” Ah—now it makes sense. And that’s why at NPC we have an extended process for choosing and ordaining elders and deacons. It’s also why we take so long in finding a new senior pastor. But waiting two and a half years, so far, has been frustrating, right? Our great search team has been working hard, but we can be tempted to question their work and this seemingly interminable process. 

 

Finally, we have a candidate and, depending on our vote next Sunday, our new pastor—just the third senior pastor in our more than 35 years as a church. So, let’s celebrate, thanking God for his mercy and grace, his work, his love, his provision, and his profound lesson in patiently trusting him.