Saturday, April 11, 2009

staring down the dark

"Good Friday inevitably comes into every life. So does Holy Saturday. What is given to God is always returned transformed. That is the eternal third day that we forever await." - Richard Rohr

Kindergarten Girl in rural Nicaragua

I've made countless sincere and genuine attempts, and even more half-hearted tries to develop and grow this fruit, patience. When it comes to waiting on God to transform what I think needs transforming, I need instruction.

Word pictures help, like the image of patience as a staring contest with the dark. Richard Rohr puts it this way:

"Jesus trusted enough to outstare the darkness, to outstare the void, to wait upon the resurrection of the third day, not to try to create his own but to wait upon the resurrection of God."

The most instructive experiences regarding patience like this have come my way from being around people who are familiar with suffering and great sorrow.

I've heard that spiritual fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.) are not acquired by the merely curious, and that they are most genuine when my ego-protecting self would, miraculously, produce the opposite. To be patient in those circumstances that would more often produce impatience in me, to "turn the other cheek" and "walk the second mile"... this is the practical fruit that "long-suffering" produces. The price is so steep that affluence and prestige and power of any kind cannot purchase it.



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