Waiting is difficult work, isn’t it?
This week at The Lamb Center, we talked about waiting and her sister, patience. The table at bible study was full and we decided none of us were fans of waiting. We also agreed we did not particularly enjoy the opportunities life seems to provide for developing patience, in spite of the fact these lessons are likely good for us.
Speaking of waiting, on Tuesday evening the miracle of The Lamb Center‘s new building continued to unfold. In a story too long to recount for you here, we have come from a place of multiple obstacles and seemingly insurmountable opposition to a new space filled with generosity, good will and abundant support from the community. We have received the needed permits, we have raised a good portion of the necessary funds and this week we were granted an exemption from real estate taxes from Fairfax City…a huge blessing for a small non-profit like ours. More than that, the tone and tenor of the council meeting, once characterized by division and animosity, now feels completely different. A community joined together by our common concern for our homeless and poor neighbors, local officials working hand in hand with concerned citizens. It felt like any minute we might all join hands and break out in a rousing chorus of Kumbaya 🙂
So what happened? Besides years and years of waiting and hard work?
In the middle of one of my favorite chapters in scripture, Paul offers this advice about waiting to the Romans:
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
The 12th chapter of Romans is full of good stuff, so you could blow right by this pithy little ten word sentence if you aren’t very careful. In fact, I think I had missed it entirely until this morning when I was going through my daily morning mood swings with God.
I told Him I was truly grateful for His outstanding work on the LC situation: winning court battles, transforming hearts, bringing new and increasingly more generous donors, even beautiful weather for getting the new building under roof by Christmas. But perhaps (I suggested patiently, albeit a tiny bit cynically) He hadn’t heard the news lately, what with Christmas being His busy season? The mass shootings multiplying while our leaders shrug their shoulders with no idea what they could possibly do to help the situation? Had He heard about the terrifying terrorist attacks and the ongoing violent rhetoric from the jihadists? Or the increasingly vitriolic attacks on our Muslim citizens and the country’s spiraling descent into fear and xenophobia? Or the blonde he-who-must-not-be-named and the horror of essentially every word out of his mouth? Did He have a plan for ALL OF THAT?
As I praised and lamented…those are church words for saying thank you and whining…God showed me this short little sentence once again.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Joyful in hope – The staff and volunteers at the LC never once stopped hoping and believing there would be an answer to the building dilemma. Never once did their faith waver, never once did they stop working on possible solutions, never once was the option of giving up ever considered. They joyfully clung to their belief that God is who He says He is and that He would do what He said He would do. They showed up, said thank you, and continued to believe God keeps His promises.
Patient in affliction– As I mentioned before, the road to this place of blessing was paved with court battles, attacks, opposition and disappointments. It was hard to understand God’s timing when the seemingly “perfect” solution fell through over and over again. With each disappointment, the faithful volunteers and staff would pick themselves up, brush themselves off and thank God for the answer they knew was still coming…someday. And then they showed up and got back to work.
Faithful in prayer– Every Saturday afternoon at 1:30 for YEARS, a group of faithful intercessors have gathered in the chapel at The Lamb Center to pray for LC guests, ministries and the new building they believed God would eventually provide. Every week, every month, every year. Each week, they thanked God for His hand at work at the LC and prayed He would bring the funds, access, land, and path to the new building. As the journey unfolded, the many supporters of the LC prayed along with them, believing God was listening. And with each bump in the road, they showed up and continued to pray.
I visited the construction site for the new building the other day right before we gathered to talk about waiting and patience around the table at the old building. As I admired the tangible evidence of God’s promise being fulfilled at the construction site and then looked into the eyes of the ones for whom it is being built seated around the table, I marveled once again at this generous loving God and the adventure of seeing Him do His transformation thing. Is anything too hard for our God?
So back to my praising and lamenting (remember, thanking and whining.) How does a Jesus girl respond to this crazy world in which we are living? What do I do with my anger, my outrage, my horror at what I see on the news each day? How do we respond as people of faith? Are there lessons to be learned from the faithful people involved in the Lamb Center’s journey? Do I believe God can make a difference? Do I believe, with the power of the Holy Spirit, I can make a difference?
Am I willing to keep showing up in the battle and commit to being joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer?
Is anything too hard for our God?
Welcome friends from #LiveFreeThursday. This week’s theme is Just Show Up. I am so very grateful to be part of this community of wonderful writers.