There are seasons of our life when all we can do is put one heavy foot in front of the other. It’s tempting in these dreary places to think that something is wrong, that we must muster our energy or our faith and maneuver out of the long sludge. Around a breakfast table recently, someone asked me how I was. I sighed deep. “I’m tired, but I’m surviving.” Another pastor at the table chided me. “Surviving? You better be doing better than that.” Well, I wasn’t. And truth told, I was rather proud of my survival. It’s certainly better than the alternative.
The Scriptures tell us to be patient and to wait on the Lord. We often envision this patience as something born amid spiritual fervor, a kind of contented restfulness as our prayers settle on our still hearts – and we wait. Often, however, our patience, if we’re to call it that, comes when we’re at the end of ourselves, after we’ve exhausted all other alternatives. Over years, contentment and patience can become a pattern, a way of living with trust, with open hands. In the mean time, it’s find to just strap in tight, grip a hand near you and ask God for mercy. God’s fine with that; God has more patience than any of us.
St. Teresa of Avila offers a blessing for these moments, reminding us that all things pass, that the dark hole which threatens to consume is smaller than it appears. St. Theresa reminds us of the one essential: We can live in the very place where we are, this very place, because God is with us. And God is always enough.
Let nothing upset you, let nothing startle you.
All things pass; God does not change.
Patience wins all it seeks.
Whoever has God lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.