Psalm 27 – How To Wait 

Waiting.

Circumstances can determine how you wait. If the situation is pressing, there may be something of the urgent that makes waiting very difficult. How often we need to let God know what time it is and how He needs to be quick.

This Psalm is great for helping with waiting. This reminds us that because of the nature of the one we’re waiting for. Reminding ourselves of his enormous worth and His reliable track record, it is for us to go with Jim rather than the reports on the circumstances.

Indeed if God really is the one thing we desire then it puts waiting into perspective. Seeing Him operate and trusting Him can do wonders for us.

It can at least help us to wait better.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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Playing the Waiting Game

Do you know how to play to win the waiting game?

When I was a child, along with my two siblings, there were times where we had the ‘joy’ of accompanying my parents to one of the homes of their friends. Their friends didn’t have children our age. This was the time before electronic devices were available as they are now. That meant we had to suck it up and wait for our parents to finish having their chinwag with their friends. I say parents, but more often than not it was my Mum we were waiting for. The part of the conversation that got us excited was the indication that it was time to go – various phrases would give a hint at that like, ‘get your coats, children’. Yet for as many of those indicator phrases were given, there was the reality that this could have been the precursor for a further conversation that would probably in reality take about ten or fifteen minutes, for us as children though that might as well be an eternity. The groan we made (of course inwardly, we didn’t want to get in trouble) was a sign of our growing exasperation that the agony would have to endure. Finally the conversation would definitively come to a proper and complete conclusion and we could make our merry way home.

I can tell you for a fact, I never liked those times at all. The memory of them makes me have that same groan and shudder inside. I can to a degree empathise with my own daughters who may at times have to wait for an extended period of time whilst  … Anyway, I can empathise.

The thing that kept us going while we waited back then was the knowledge of leaving that situation to get to a better one. That’s why there was no point kicking up a fuss with our parents at the time, it wouldn’t change the situation for the better. In fact it would have made matters worse when we got back to the better place. It made sense to keep in mind the better place we were heading for whilst dealing with the pain of the place we were in. It was playing the waiting game that allowed us to survive back in the day.

Today, I am of the impression that I am just about that age where I don’t have to endure waiting for Mum like I used to in those circumstances. Although nowadays the exercise in playing the waiting game is usually in effect with regards to certain meetings. It takes much to endure those meetings of various kinds and keep a sane and moderate head. What helps in those settings is the knowledge that enduring that situation will lead to ending up in a better situation. That quality of endurance, perseverance and patience would make the ordeal worthwhile.

It’s not just about the ‘grinning and bearing it’ aspect, it’s genuinely letting the knowledge of the better situation positively influence the approach to the current situation. That in itself can lead to an arrangement where even that tedious situation can have its own benefits.

I was reminded in Hebrews 11 that the Faith Hall of Fame was made up of characters who knew that they were just passing through whilst waiting for the promise that was beyond them. They allowed faith to allow them to make the most of their situation whilst looking forward to a better situation ahead.

Oh for the grace to exercise the faith to play and win the waiting game.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience (The Fruit Series 23)

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The fruit of the Spirit express the character of Christ. God in us through His Spirit reveals God to others in how we are. This is seen particularly in the characteristic of patience.

Considering patience is fascinating in a world that promotes speed as a great quality. In that kind of world something that takes it time that will not be produced quickly is countercultural. For the follower of Jesus it’s challenging because not only is that which we wait for not always going to be produced quickly, circumstances may give the indication it will never be produced at all. As conditions worsen there’s every good reason to prefer to do something about it, to take matters into your own hands or to just plainly give up. That is exactly when the character of Christ emerges to nip those ‘reasonable’ thoughts in the bud.

Patience is not a state of inactivity. It is the quality of persevering which is very much active in keeping on keeping on. Patience is the capacity to stay on even when it would seem better to get off. That quality of sticking to it is about the source of our patience. We are patient because our Father shows great patience in out development. He shows great patience in the travails of humanity. He exercises this quality even when we go about making a mess of His creation. He is patient because He knows His will must come to pass. Therefore we are patient because His will must come to pass. When we get heavily invested in that will and begin to see things the way He sees them and treasure that for what it’s worth, the ability to take on the adversity in the meanwhile becomes something we can bear. We bear it because there’s something of far greater worth that we receive as we wait. While we bear it, we can encourage ourselves with the truths of what we wait for and even remind ourselves of the blessing of the presence of the one who promised while we wait.

That is not a solitary exercise. This is a communal and relational experience. As our Father is patient with our development, so we are patient with the development of our brother and sister. As our Father is patient because He is working on us, so we are patient in continuing to work with each other intentionally looking to see Christ developed in each other. Setbacks and disappointments do not negate the hope we have in Christ. Upsets and betrayals do not make His character less reliable and true.

It is marvellous and gratifying to know that God would allow us to produce patience as we hear and understand His word for us. That in itself is a great quality of fruitfulness for the glory of our Father.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Let Relationships Develop 

If I had a penny for every time I have been informed how we live in a microwave society looking for the quick fix, I would be rich enough to buy quite a number of microwaves. 

I am sure there’s a degree of truth to it, but it’s advanced as though things were so much better yesteryear when at best things were different. Very different to the degree that we can make that critical analysis of the day and age we live in. For all that though, it is not a modern problem. Impatience has been a key factor driving technological progress – we don’t want to necessarily go through long processes to reach outcomes, we desire the outcome as soon as possible if not sooner. 

That’s evident in the expectations for relationships. One slight, one hurt, one indiscretion and the barriers go up and it’s typical humanity. Anything that suggests the mere absence of genuine warmth and hospitality and there’s the conclusion this person is not ready for friendship. What we all need is a little more time. A little more intentional time for each other, a little more intentional time that allows the relationship to develop so that there’s more content and context to work from. It’s what we need for ourselves, but it’s what we struggle to give to others. 

Some of us are too quick, some of us are too ponderous, sometimes we get too intense, other times we appear far too distant. Yet give us time, create the space and then experience the blessing of the relational interaction. 

We just need more time for the relationship to develop. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

What To Expect When He Speaks 

Some people are keen to hear the word of the Lord. That is understandable. You’re in a relationship with someone, you want to share who you are and you want to get to know who the other person is. Some of the best ways to get to know I’d hear what they say. 

God is ever present to share who He is in many ways and scripture is full of incidents where He speaks to people. Sometimes directly and sometimes through others. Recently it has been very sad reading of episodes of God talking to people and here are some things I have picked up from those tragic episodes. 

When God speaks, He really means it. When He spoke to the prophetic with no name, His instructions were clear. There was to be no doubting about it, whatever any other liable source should propose. That is also to say that when He speaks, there will be a variety of forces that will sow temptation and doubt in a bid to deter you from what has been said. 

When God speaks, His timing is not always limited. When God spoke to Jeroboam through Ahijah, it was very clear that his success was dependent on leaning on what God said. David had demonstrated that in his reign. Jeroboam could have followed that path and enjoyed a reign that could have gone down favourably in Israel’s history. That was a matter of faithfulness over time. That required focus over time. In Jeroboam’s case his quick pursuit of self preservation rather than faithfulness had damaging consequences. That goes to show the importance of focusing on the source of the promise not just its outcome. It is such a task to remain focused when other factors compete, when relationships go awry, when there are concerns about potential threats to what you hope for. 

The hype about hearing God speak is usually in the hope for something immediate and permanent. Yet God is not limited to that and often looks for us to believe and be patient in that belief. He can do that because He gives us the grace to wait if we focus on Him. Thus in looking to follow what God says – and it is essential we are lead by what He says – we certainly need His character to fulfil His Word. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

The Need For Patience For The Necessary Changes

Some things in life require gradual change and some alterations here and there.

I enjoy people talking on things as a project and slowly but surely changing things to reflect their vision for something. As you’re aware I’m a football fan. (Oh you’re not aware? Well now you are. Oh and if you’re from the States you know I mean the proper game called football that requires the players to kick the spherical object – y’know foot ball.) Something I do enjoy about football is how managers cannot wholesale change a side overnight and so they must stamp their mark on things in an incremental fashion.

That takes time. That requires patience. Manchester United fans know that their years of success from 1992 onwards was because of the patience taken to invest in the plan of their boss Sir Alex Ferguson. He committed himself to the necessary changes in the club.

There are other stories of entire football legacies that required changes to take place to sustain them or re-establish them as a force. They took time and I can only really say the Chelsea project was the one that immediately brought success.

For all my admiration for the careful alterations to things approach, there comes a time when actually it’s not an alteration that’s required. Evolution is not the answer. A wholesale reformation from top to bottom is called for and nothing less will bring about the desired affect.

Yet even that requires a great deal of patience, especially because it still involves people. People who are used to the first model, people who have no idea how they would deal with a wholesale upheaval, even when it’s needed. That degree of patience is certainly an expression of the love of God in your life.

Patience is the key – patiences with hope that the change is gonna come.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

When It Doesn’t Make Sense

He said he would never leave her, but here she was in the dark, afraid and alone.

It was a long time since she saw him and the look on his face scared her more than anything. It was as if he didn’t know her. He gave that vacant look as he slowly closed the door essentially subjecting her to this … this … hell.

She just didn’t know anymore. She didn’t know about him. She didn’t know about them. She just knew her friend had let her down and now she was cold, tired and just wanted to go home. She just wanted to go home. She wanted to scream. She was miserable and she admitted it, when she saw him, she was not going to hold back.

As she wandered around looking for some sign a hand suddenly covered her mouth as another jerked her away into some unknown area. Before she knew what was happening she blacked out.

When she came to she was in the familiar surrounding with him. He was giving her a cup of tea and bourbons her favourite biscuits. She was about to let rip when he began calmly.

“Thank you. Thank you for trusting me, for being patient with me. I know it couldn’t have been easy and you probably wanted to know why, but thanks for not giving up. Thanks for hanging around.”

“What do you mean?” she was so shocked she forgot her rant.

“Back there, when I shut the door on you, I protected you from a decision you would not want to make.” He explained. “If I gave any sign of knowing you it would have betrayed you and put you in great peril. Believe me. It was one of the hardest thing I have ever done. But I would rather have done that and spared you the unbearable pain for the rest of your life.”

There was something of the tired and wearied look in him that made her believe him. His usual assertiveness was replaced with what could be seen as resignation.

“You may not believe it, but everything I ever do is to keep you … no, not keep you safe. Keep you truly alive. In touch with all your feelings, aware of all you think, desire and will. I want you to choose. So if you’re unhappy with what I did, I will understand if you need to leave.”

He opened the door for her. She took a deep breath, remembering the agony of the loneliness. The sense that this unpredictable man was maybe too unpredictable for her.

Maybe this was the time to go …

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden