I remember a few years ago, I had to stop and get a money order on my way to my final destination. The place I chose to get a money order at was the last place possible to get one. Unfortuantely not everything goes according to our plans all the time. I got inside and after waiting for my turn in line it turned out that there were some problems with the machine. And I had to do some more waiting. After several minutes of the clerk playing with the machine and the manager coming over and working with the machine, the manager finally looked at me and said “wow you’ve got a lot of patience”. It wasn’t a matter of having patience I just had no choice. I could either get my money back, go back out to the car, drive around trying to find someplace else to get a money order at, or I can wait there and wait till they fixed the machine. To go driving around would mean I would have to spend more fuel driving around and I would have to backtrack for sure, possibly wait in line there to get the money order, drive back to where I had just been to try to get a money order, and then keep going to my final destination. Not exactly something I was looking forward to. So I kept waiting.
As I sit here now on this third day of March, nearly a year removed from when I first seriously set down and began to put pen to paper, as it were, on my book I can think of few times when patience was really looking forward to the project being done. Those days when I would dream about being done with this writing, the times of darkness from studying such a subject to be over with, the days when I would begin to have people read the book to make sure that I was sound in my thinking, and then the days when I be trying to raise money to get the book printed, and finally the day I would see the book printed. Well it took a little bit of a different route than what I had planned; I ended up going with a different type of publisher. So now my patience is dedicated toward waiting for the first review from the publisher on the book. I’ve had a couple of preacher friends look at it and give me their honest opinion about it, some corrections that need to be made, and even endorsements from them. So now here I am, the beginning of the third week of waiting for what the publisher had to say, I have high expectations and honestly I got low expectations as well, just waiting.
But you know things don’t always go the way we plan. Our expectations lead us in one direction our patience says it it will pay dividends. So what happens when it doesn’t go according to plan?
In 1Kings 5 we meet a soldier named Naaman. He was a man who had a plan and he had followed that plan and ended up becoming captain, the man in charge of all of the King’s soldiers. But along the way he became a leper. However, one day he received word of a possible source of help for he’s leprosy and went to the king about this help. He needed go to the nation of Israel were there was a prophet who could heal him. The king gave him permission to go to Israel to get to help and sent a letter with him asking the king of Israel to heal his general. Naamans patience carried him through, his expectations were built so that by the time he finally reached the prophet he expected him to come out and heal the leprosy himself or the command him to do some great deed. But none of that happened instead he was told something simple to do, to go wash in a filthy river. Not exactly what he’d been expecting and his patience ran out real quick. One of his servants pointed out to him what he would have been willing to do so why not go ahead and do what he’d been told to do. He followed the commandment and was cured of the leprosy; he did as God had wanted him to do.
Now I know I’m not in the same league as Naaman. But I do believe that what I’ve been working on with this book is a commandment of the Lord to do. It has required a lot of patience, patience that has built expectation. In the next day or so I expect to hear back from the publisher and get to begin the process of figuring out how to make the book better, to improve upon the mistakes that are there, to build up the strong points, and fix the weak spots. Those things I couldn’t see on my own. It will be necessary work; perhaps not too much fun, needed nonetheless. The trick is to keep the expectations in reason and let patience do its thing.