While typing and printing off documents, my printer suddenly decided to morph into la-la land. Electronic devices are so wonderful – until they don’t work. Then we’re stuck.
Frustrated, I tried and tried to print the last document, not realizing what was happening on the other end of electronic cyberspace. After rebooting, unplugging and still not printing, I turned everything off and quit for the day.
The next morning, when I turned on the computer, the printer decided to resuscitate itself. It spewed out page after page of documents that had been hiding in the queue.
Eventually, it stopped – but not before I added several inches to my pile of recyclable scrap paper.
The electronic world sometimes imitates life.
How often do we pray and pray for something, wait and wait longer while heaven seems to exist in an introverted silence?
Nothing happens for weeks, months, even years. Our prayers seem stuck in the queue of God’s waiting room. Then suddenly – an avalanche of answered prayers, all bunched up at the same time.
We gasp at the range of unexpected blessings and rejoice again in the assurance that God loves us.
As a writer, sometimes my words get stuck in a creative queue. I’ve never experienced a complete writer’s block, but I do know how to procrastinate and avoid sitting in the chair, hoping by osmosis to produce something memorable.
What I’ve discovered, though, is that the discipline produces its own fruit. Even though I may slug through a paragraph or two, if I keep going, keep making the words happen – then suddenly – the creative muse kicks in and I’m in another world for hours. That’s when writing is most fun.
So what can we learn from our moments stuck in the queue?
Persistence is still a worthwhile virtue.
The best writing, the purest answers to prayer, the most productive days evolve as a result of self-discipline. When we give it our best and keep at it – over and over – day after day – that’s when we eventually produce good fruit.
We may not see it for a while, but it WILL happen. Persistence which produces results is one of the key principles of life.
Nothing worthwhile happens easily. When we have to work for it, we appreciate the results and feel energized to persist with even more fervor.
Effective Results Require Patience
Patience and persistence are twin brothers. They sometimes look alike and often require some of the same disciplines to feed them.
But the persistence twin is a process while the patience twin reveals a quality of life.
Patience reminds us to wait, then wait some more. And when we can no longer stand the wait, we dig deep and learn how much strength authentic waiting requires.
Patience is the months-or-years-long battle, waiting for poisonous chemo to take effect and save a life.
Patience allows the preschooler to tie his own shoes even while the school bus honks.
Patience sits beside the Alzheimer’s resident and hears the same questions again and again, then responds with gentleness because it is what it is – a plaque-infestation of the brain and we know Mom cannot help herself.
Patience understands and gives grace when the addiction festers but the victim still tries to recover.
Patience learns through the passage of time because it cannot be hurried and if we want the best results – we must not deny the waiting.
Patience turns off the printer, instead of continuing the process of trying to print – adding more documents to the queue which then wastes paper. Lesson learned.
Sometimes the Best Action is No Action.
For planners and doers like me, it feels better to do something – to hit that print button over and over – to unplug and try again and again.
But sometimes, the cyberspace universe has to get its pixels in order and find its missing megabites. I don’t even understand its language. How then, can I make it do something?
When we’ve prayed and prayed, waited and persisted – yet nothing happens – we can use the prayer of relinquishment.
“Oh God, I can’t stand this, but I absolutely have no clue what to do. Please take over and do whatever you need to do to mend this problem. Please help me to rest in you and trust that you know exactly what’s wrong and what to do about it. I give up.”
That prayer seems so counterintuitive to what we’ve been taught about productivity, but even the Psalmist portrays the same advice, “Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon him; fret not…” (Psalm 37:7 AMP).
Be still. Unplug. Stop trying to figure it out. Don’t worry. Let go and let God salve your weary soul.
If we don’t learn how to be still, then we end up with a heap of nothing – wasted words, frustrated prayers and sometimes – piles of worthless paper.
But if we just let go and let God figure it out, then we return to the task rebooted and refreshed, ready for whatever he has to give us and grateful for the lessons we have learned.
As we wait in the queue for God to redeem this wicked world, we can be certain he does indeed know what he’s doing.
Maybe he’s just waiting for us to trust him so he can finish the task.
©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh