Hope in the Queue

printersWhile 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

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Hope Realigns

arrows - alignmentA pastor began his introduction into the Communion Service with a call for confession. “This is the time to realign our hearts,” he said, “to make sure we are ready to receive the bread and cup together.”

Realigning our hearts to God – I had never considered that viewpoint but I liked it. As I bowed my head and confessed sins and errors of judgment, prideful thoughts of the week and the taking of offenses that did not belong to me – I was grateful for moments of contemplative confession.

Sometimes phrases and words stay with me for a long time. I ponder them, journal about them, pray fervently for clarity.

As I thought about the topic of realignment and pondered this blog post, I saw the need for realignment in many areas of life.

My last post centered on the topic of release as I linger in God’s waiting room.

How can I realign my soul as I wait and release?

As I work on necessary patience, I realign my heart to accept whatever God’s answers might be. Bringing my heart back to the correct focus is a constant soul work and a spiritual discipline I want to conquer.

When we have struggles in relationships, we might consider the idea of realignment. How can we be mutually submissive so that compromise works and love scores a win?

How can we set healthy boundaries in our lives and realign our hearts with what is truly important? We might try less productivity for the sake of dollars; more reaching out to the needy.

As a writer, my creative mind constantly sparks with new ideas – another book I yearn to write, articles and blog posts to reach the masses through cyberspace, another website focused on my coaching outreach.

But in this season of active ministry, my time to construct paragraphs and plots, characters and resolutions is limited. The achievement of polished manuscripts lies dormant.


I must realign my goals with reality and wait for the time when ideas bring a harvest. God is glorified even in the waiting.


Especially during this Lenten season, I seek to realign my soul with the important rather than the urgent, to find my joy in the simple pleasure of God’s presence and the divine whisper that sings lullabies at night.

Then when resurrection comes – whether it is Easter Sunday, resolutions within relationships or the birth of a new book – I will know hope has preceded me.

Realignment will have succeeded and once again – I will journey on the right path.

©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

The Secret of Yoder, KS

In the stillness of the morning, I meet with God – here at the Sunflower Inn in Yoder, Kansas.Sunflower Inn

Two friends join me for this weekend away, this girlfriend time that also counts as my sabbatical from ministry.

No flipping on the TV, no computer screen bleeping messages from cyberspace. Just my friends, God and me.

Birds sing morning allelujahs and I wait for something – that cacophony of sound that usually assaults me when I open my eyes.

But here in this quiet place, I do not hear it and feel blessed by its absence.

Traffic. The roar of engines and the hurry-to-work-revving is not present in this place.

I discover the secret solace of Yoder, Kansas. Amish buggies move silently except for the clopping of horses’ hooves on the pavement – a subtle sound that speaks of contented life without the scurry of automation.

Sunflower bedroomSunflowers decorate my room, a reminder of Kansas and of vibrant life that promises to burst forth as soon as winter gives way to spring.

And I am reminded of my own personal mantra that I share in speaking venues – when life unravels, take a break.

My soul, so grieved with the hurts I hear and see each day – needs this respite. My family is thick into the caregiving of our mother who struggles through Alzheimer’s. I need this time away.

Although brief, it is like a gulp of air to a woman who is drowning in the cares of life. The reminder that life is to be lived, and I have a purpose. Yet I do not need in this quiet place to even think on that purpose or to meet the needs of anyone besides myself.

And that is okay. It is not selfish to take time for self-care.

So I listen blissfully to the stereo of Yoder sounds: the trill of the birds and the mew of a kitten, the bellow of a cow begging to be milked and in the distance – the putt-putt of a tractor on its way to the fields.

Sounds of contented life in Amish country. Sounds I miss in the city life I lead. Sounds I need to hear on this sabbatical weekend.

Should God allow my timeline to continue, He will enable and equip me to meet others’ needs again. He will pour through me the abundance of His Spirit.

But for now, he bids me rest.

He whispers to me in this early morning hour from Psalm 54:4, “God is my helper, the Lord is the upholder of my life.”

Uphold me even today, Lord. Cup your hands around my face and pour into me your healing spirit. Bless me too, my Father, with your love in this quiet place.