Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Slow progress

Last night a friend asked me if I was noticing any progress in my health. My immediate answer was, "No." But I don't think that is strictly speaking, true. Today, for instance, I went grocery shopping by myself for the first time in a month. I have simply not been able to face doing that before now. So that must indicate some progress, right?

Slow progress is hard to deal with because it requires patience. As a young Christian, foolhardy and naive, I prayed for quite a while for patience. Well, God has been good to answer that prayer, but the progress there has been slow, too, and the lessons hard for me to learn. God has been infinitely patient with me, however.

Another prayer from early on in my Christian walk had to do with the elderly saints at our first church in Maryland, some 28 years ago. These folks had walked with Jesus for so many years that you could see Him shining through their faces. Dave and I prayed and prayed that such a thing would happen to us: that we would shine with Jesus. That has been slow progress, too. I am still hopeful that one day it will be true.

One of the things I didn't know as I prayed those earnest, early prayers, was how things like patience and Christ-likeness come about. Usually it is through suffering. If I had realized that, it would likely have cut my prayers short. Thank God, that in His providence, I was young and enthusiastic and stupid on that score. Because I prayed those prayers for years, and now God is going about answering my prayers, as He does all prayers, in the way that is best for me and will bring Him glory.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
~2 Peter 3: 8-9


Mrs. Edwards said...

Reflecting on your tiredness and impatience with the restraints of ill-health, I was reminded of the life of Amy Carmichael. She was quite frustrated to become an invalid in her later years and had imagined herself working hard until she met Jesus face to face. She wrote in 1915 (before becoming ill), "When my day's work is done, take me straight Him do not let me be ill and a burden or anxiety to anyone. O let me finish my course with joy and not with grief. ..Let me die of a battle wound, O my Lord, not of a lingering illness."

However, one biographer writes, "The reasons for the twenty years of invalidism are complex. But what has come out of those years in terms of writing is pure gold. Not least in value is Amma's sensitivity and insight into suffering." And, "...through her writing, she could relate more deeply with the world at large." And, "It was the start of the 'Keeping of the Charge,' that passing on of wisdom and experience to those who remained on active duty." (From Elizabeth R. Skoglund's "Amma: The Life and Words of Amy Carmichael")

Your blog seems to be a bit like this, and perhaps you have other outlets of writing as well, of which I'm not aware. I'm still on active duty, as a homeschooling mom and teacher. I appreciate your wisdom and experience, made available to me through this medium, even as you feel constrained.

Blessings to you-

Julie said...

I remember being pregnant together.

I remember being in your home when I had a new baby and you took joy in you big boys.

I remember a lovely baby shower.

I saw Jesus. He just looked like you and others at Brice.

In this season of thanksgiving I remember you with gratitude.

MagistraCarminum said...

Thank you, Amy and Julie! These comments have touched me and encouraged me this morning!