Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Waiting for Change

Change can take a long time. I was at the check-out counter buying something I probably did not need when the guy in front of me used cash to pay for his purchase. I guess he had not seen the VISA commercial that teaches us that cash slows things down (see commercial below). I had to wait for what seemed like a long time for the person to stop and give the person their change. Change can take a long time. I'm really not talking about the kind of change that requires money. I'm have been thinking a bit about how long it seems to take for people (me) to change. Most of us really do not like change (unless it is our idea). As much as we might often fight change, change is inevitable.  As I look in the mirror, I can see lots of gray hair near my temples, and what are those deep lines on my face?  Could they be 'wrinkles'?  They were not there 20 years ago.  As I look out my back window, the grass in my yard is changing.  I just mowed it on Monday and although it is only Wednesday, it is looking a little long.  If I were to open my Quicken check book, I would see all too quickly that much of money has changed hands.  My children are adults now, I have grandchildren, I used to live in Long Beach, Ca. and now I live in Peoria, Az...and on and on and on.  Change happens, but it still is often hard to cope with.  
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?