Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Lord, I need patience...NOW!

I have a confession to make. I am a big fan of Spongebob. There just aren't any good cartoons on anymore. If it weren't for TV Land, I probably wouldn't watch TV at all anymore.

One of my favorite Spongebob episodes is "Club Spongebob," where Spongebob, Patrick, and Squidward are unwittingly thrust into a kelp forest with no food or shelter. All they have is the "Magic Conch" a parody of the old "Magic 8 Ball." They ask the Magic Conch what they have to do to get out of the kelp forest, and the Conch answers, "Nothing." So Patrick and Spongebob sit down catatonically and do nothing, much to Squidward's dismay.

While Squidward constructs a makeshift camp and dines on bugs, an airplane from the Picnic Supply Co. is diving to its doom and ejects its cargo. The cargo is a picnic feast with all the trimmings, and it lands all neat and tidy in front of Spongebob and Patrick. They give credit where it is due, "Praise the Magic Conch," and enjoy their bountiful feast.

Squidward represents most of us. "We can't just sit here and do nothing!" I would like to have the kind of innocent faith that Spongebob and Patrick exemplify. Of course our faith is in the God of the universe, not some toy. Psalm 46:10 says "Be still and know that I am God." Why can't we do that? A man in my former church once said, "If we do that, the whole church will fall apart." He was Chairman of Deacons...go figure.

In The Shawshank Redemption, Brooks writes to his fellow inmates, "The world went and got itself in a big @&%# hurry." We are so spoiled with microwaves and microprocessors that do for us quickly what we once waited for. I stand in front of my microwave and go, "C'mon c'mon." My pal Rick took the Super Bowl commercial videos off of his blog because "They were taking too long to download." No offense, brother. I sit at my PC every day, with my high speed internet connection and say, "Why is this taking so long?" Spoiled.

The last two months have been the most challenging I have ever faced. Friends told me over and over, "The Lord will take care of this." I refused to let Him. There was too much at stake. I lost so much sleep, and my stomach has been so upset for the last several weeks because of my refusal to be patient and let God work. It never even occurred to me to trust Him in this. I trust Him with little things, but not the big ones. Oh, for the faith of Spongebob!

In a couple of days, all of the stress of the last few weeks will be over. I would like to report that I passed this test of faith with flying colors!

I would LIKE to report that, but I can't. I flipped out. I panicked. I was impatient and faithless. This whole ordeal has taught me so much, and I am thankful for that. The Bible says that suffering produces perseverance, character, and patience. Time will tell, but I think I gained a little bit of these things along the way.

Believers joke, "Don't pray for patience, cause you'll sure get it!" I didn't pray for patience; I prayed for grace, and received more than I could have ever imagined.

Like Squidward, I was so quick to doubt and take matters into my own hands that I almost missed the blessing. Yet in the end, Spongebob and Patrick invited doubting Squidward to their feast. Despite all of his doubting and mocking of them, they showed him grace by saying, "Squidward, once a brother ALWAYS a brother."

Likewise, in spite of all my doubting and shouting, God took care of everything, and rather than condemning me for my lack of faith, He graciously invites me to feast on His grace and mercy.
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