Monday, May 29, 2017

Impatience and Deception

Some of this may sound obvious or like common sense.  But I still think it's worth while.

Right I'm in a phase of life with young and thus very impatient children.  Their impatience is annoying, especially when they can do it themselves, or I'm trying to give them what they ask, but sometimes it takes a few minutes to prepare their food, find a clean sippy cup for their juice, or organize the necessary things to go on a walk or whatever it is they are wanting.... but they want it now.  And whine and beg and demand.

Sometimes the 2 year old will want something that I know will harm her.  Like the knife in kitchen, or to play with the mixer while it's being used.  I tell her no, not because she can't ever play with it or learn about it, but given her age and understanding, it will turn to her own harm.  She lacks the self control for the knife, and lacks the understanding of the mixer to not injure herself. They put up a stink for a second when I say no, but they get over it.
In my own quest for answers to prayer from God I'm often met with a response dealing with patience.  I imagine I am no different from God's perspective than my own kids are to mine.  I have no intention of never letting my kids handle a sharp knife, use matches, or use the kitchen mixer.  The answer is almost always yes, but just not right now.  Sometimes, if the situation is safe, I will give them whatever it is they are demanding..... knowing full well what will happen.  But it's so that they learn. I always try and warn them first before doing this.  Truly the life lessons built into parenting and having a family are in so many of our faces every single day, I hope the important ones are not lost on me.

I was talking with a friend on the phone today and the topic of patience with regard to the things of God and scripture came up.  After some self inventory I concluded that I often act very impatiently.  The realization caused my prayers to turn quickly from impatient prayers to apologies. As I look back, my impatience led to actions, thoughts, or even beliefs that didn't work.  But it's hard.  Our inner impulses and temptations and feelings don't always lend themselves to being patient.  Least mine don't.  Some impatient temptations are almost predictable and I see them all over the place.  Such as: "God doesn't care".  or "What's the use".  "This is too hard".  "It's not working". "Works for others but not me".  Or there's just anger and frustration.  To name just a few.

But at the end of the day, impatience seems a bit like distrust of God's timing or ways.  

After the phone call with my friend today the thoughts stayed with me and kept expanding.  It dawned on me that deception and impatience go hand in hand.  If one is unwilling to wait, or expend the needed effort and time, the impatience urges us to think, do, or believe things which are based on incomplete, inadequate, or straight up lies.  They appear to off a shortcut or some easier faster alternative method to get what we want.  In my experience, that is NOT the path to take.  It's ruinous.  The impatience reveals what's in our heart.   (or what's not there, as the case may be).  And according to scripture, we all need a change of heart.  The right thing at the wrong time, often ends up wrong.

One of my 4yr old's favorite movies is The Little Mermaid.  In one scene after Ariel's father destroyed her collection of human objects, she's off by herself crying.  The villain of the movie Ursula has two shady side kick eels who choose that sad and frustrated and opportune moment to visit Ariel.  They try and persuade her to visit the Sea Witch with whom she ends up making a really bad deal in order to get what she wants.  Ariel's father had the ability to grant her want she wanted all along, but she was young and impatient and as her crab friend tries to help her understand "is being reckless and irresponsible".  And her father wasn't really listening or hearing her.  Which was a separate problem.  But despite her friends, and her father, she gets sucked into a bad deal with someone who does not have her best interest at heart.  Ursula asks for a very heavy and deceptive deal, and in the heat of the moment, capitalizes on Ariel's impulses. 

I have to say how thankful I am for kids, and for the life lessons they place in front of my face every day.  With their own behavior or re-watching movies that have timeless themes in them.

If I look at the actions of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden there is a clear patience/impatience lesson.  God said not to certain fruit, and also said that He would return and give them further instructions.  But temptation came, fruit was eaten, and we know the rest of the story.  The fruit was out of season when they ate it.  Had they waited.... things would have been different.  God provided a way to remedy all that happened but the lesson is pretty obvious.  The right fruit out of season isn't good.  Very few trees produce mature fruit the first year.

I conclude one of the ways to avoid deception, is to patiently wait upon the Lord.  Do we trust God's hand will ultimately be revealed, and promises kept, to those faithful to Him?  I can clearly identify that such is the case from scripture.  Will that which is of God and that which is not come into focus if we are patient and humble?  Can God cure our blindness? And fill us with Joy?  Or is he just going to trick you?  And leave you unhappy and disappointed?

I believe our job is to do as God asks, however humble, or seemingly small, and wait for Him.  Despite the impulses to whine, complain, storm off in another direction, or become disillusioned and doubt filled.  Or push the agenda on our own timing.  Following God's plan, according to scripture, always includes patience.  Even for Christ Himself.

There is a scripture that used to make me sort of groan, but which has grown on me.  Christ is speaking about the last days and events preceding the Second Coming.  He prophecies of things that will happen.  And then this phrase: In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19)

A similar phrase is found in D&C 101 38: “And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.”

Patience, humility, sacrifice.  I'm persuaded that these easily dismiss-able words are dusty old keys that open the right doors at the right time.  I'm also persuaded that these help avoid deception.  In patience we posses our souls.  The humble will be lifted up and led by the hand.  And sacrifice is the means to obtain faith.

I believe God's hand is moving as the scriptures prophesied.  I see the opposition and the mess that attend anything God does.  I hope for the patience and humility to stay behind the One who knows the way, and the One who neither casts a shadow to the left or to the right.  He who's sacrifice will cause all of us to bow in humble acknowledgement of the grace and mercy and love of God.  I hope to join with others who patiently seek God, Zion, and to find true lasting peace.