I think change is most painful when I want things to change. It is not so bad that things change, but when I want them to change or when change is being forced upon me, that is when change can be painful or at least, very slo o o o o o o w. There are many friends in my life across the country with whom I am praying for change in their lives. Some wrestle with various dark thoughts, others are handcuffed because of some experience they have had and can't or won't move through, others are good at putting up roadblocks to healthy change that will enhance who they are as a person. Some of my friends are just not ready to even admit that change needs to happen. As I look at my friends, pray for my friends and trust that God will move through my friends I must admit that at time, I get weary from the waiting. I feel like the Psalmist who cry's out, "How long, O God will you wait?" I get tired of loving and loving and loving that seems to be met with resistance. Do you have friends like mine?
So, what to do? What I have learned is to keep waiting. In my waiting, I find that God is actually 'changing me'! I begin to learn, little by little, that God is truly involved in the change process in my friends life. I find out that God surely wants my friends (and me) to change and become more like Him. And not only that, but that He IS working in their lives (Phil 2:13) albeit sometimes at a painfully slow pace - at least to my standards. I have found that people need to know that it is safe for them to change without being abandoned, made fun of or whipped into shape for trying to follow the leading of Jesus. We ought to be patient with people as they change. We should pray much for the process they are going through. We should love them in strong ways never condoning sinful choices but always lovingly pointing to the cross of Jesus. and we should have a deep hope and faith that God is on the move, even if we can not detect His movement. If we would love each other like that, how different would our world be? How different would our church be? How different would I be?