Monday, July 24, 2017

Patiently Creating Art

For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you.
Joshua 22:3 (NIV)

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
Hebrews 10:36 (NLT)

Sometimes, things take a long time to happen. And when it's taking a long time, you might wonder if it's going to happen at all. Things like getting a child to sleep in their own bed at night, or be reliably potty trained, or be able to tie the laces on sneakers. I confess that there have been many such things that I just gave up on. I stopped hoping, stopped trying, stopped engaging. This milestone just won't be met. Why extend the effort if change isn't going to happen?

Sometimes, things just take a long time to happen. Like the passage of millions of moments in a pit, in slavery, in jail, in anguish and despair. Like the transition of a boy to a man, through sheep rearing and lion slaying and bear dominating. Like the pathway to being second in command in one of the most influential nations in the then world. Like the evolution of a king. Sometimes things just take a long time.

When we sit in this moment of time, we are submerged within the minutes on the clock, and it's difficult to have the perspective of a wide angle lens. You know those lenses, right? The ones that zoom out really far into a panorama, that bring consecutive, distant segments into clear focus? What if we could see our moments that way, as part of a continuous stream of breathtaking beauty? Sliced and diced into tiny segments of time, it's hard to see the beauty, the masterpiece unfolding.

My family and I had the extreme privilege of participating in a tour of Italy earlier this month. Everywhere we went, we saw these really old buildings. In Florence, we heard about the construction of the Cathedral of Santa Maria. The building is breathtaking, but what was even more remarkable, was the almost 600 year period of construction, the starts and stops, deaths and politics, all working together to create the structure we could see in 2017. This meant that many, many people worked on this building, each doing their part until they stopped, and someone else took over. And, last week, I got to stand beside this structure and take a picture, and bask in a monument to things taking a long time.

Perhaps to help us prepare to appreciate these incredible works of art and architecture, the tour guides ushered us through teaming crowds and many checkpoints, telling us "today's word is patience." That word echoes all over my heart and mind. The Holy Spirit whispers, "Patience. Some things take time." He whispers, "Faith."

Today, see with the eyes of faith, the work of art that you get to participate in, as artisan, as custodian, as tour guide and scent, and enthusiast and advocate. May you remain and be overwhelmed by the breathtaking artistry of the Eternal One, as He reveals His work of art in your special person. And be prepared. As you see what He's doing, and how intentional He's being with His masterpiece, be prepared for your breath to be taken away. His work does that to you.

Dear Lord, we stand in awe of your masterpiece, represented in our loved ones. Fill our hearts with patience and anticipation as we wait, and watch you work.

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