Patience and Perseverance
I love my kids. I love every single one of them. I love the ones who lie to their partners; I love the ones who make promises they never mean to keep; I love the ones who try to drink their problems away. I even love the ones who take my words out of context to justify hurtful and damaging life choices. They are a hot mess, and I love them because Jesus loves me. Jesus loves each of these children who are all at different points in their life journeys.
I do want to see them all healthy and following Jesus, but I'm in this for the long haul. I read a passage in the latest book on prayer to cross my path which recounts the faithfulness with which D.L. Moody prayed for a list of 100 non Christians he knew. As each of them came to profess a faith in Jesus, he crossed their name off of the list. The story says at his funeral the last four people on the list gave their lives to Jesus. Currently, I have a list of particular students who I pray for faithfully hoping to see transformation and healing come into their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. I won't give up on these kids because the Lord doesn't give up on me. I did have a moment at the start of this week where I selfishly lamented that no student in my sphere seemed to have a clear positive effect from me. I knew that was hyperbole, but I still asked God to show me one kid who could identify me as a positive influence in their life. In his grace, the Lord gave me four.
The last example came from one first of my students who spent a couple hours catching up with me and commenting on the beautiful “heart surgery” she saw the Lord perform as she read between the lines on my blog posts over the past several months. My pray journey over the past five months has added a new dimension of praying for a person who does follow Jesus but like me is on a journey to represent Jesus better to others. At one point in the conversation, I said something about this other person that wasn't effusively generous but was definitely kind, and my student stopped me, “Whoa, you would never have said something like that a couple of months ago."
She was totally right, and reading the book on prayer today gave me another opportunity to reflect on the perseverance I'm learning in this season. The faithfulness. Pete Greig writes, "Faith is God's gift to us, faithfulness is ours to him." During this season of my life, I've had half a dozen people reach out independently to tell me they felt God had told them to pray for patience or perseverance for me. Those words have come to be significant in my journey of prayer. I would love to have all the answers and solutions to give my struggling students. Instead, I'm gifted the opportunity to model a life of patience and perseverance. By the grace of God, there are already people seeing beautiful transformation in my life, and I hope that is a pattern that continues in faithfulness. My faith has certainly grown in this season, and praise the Lord as we reach a new milestone on the calendar.
Don't expect an update from me next weekend: it's going to come on Monday, January 18, seven years to the day from when I broke my back.