The Waiting Game
It’s another snippet from “RETOOLED: Shaping our Fathering from the Inside Out”. This time from the chapter on patience and I would love you “hear” your thoughts! Peace, Jay
I am in a unique position as a dad; I call it a patience position. Patiently listening is part of our relational journey with the Father. The still small voice of God is often missed because of busyness or, soul clutter, as I like to call it. Soul clutter is any distraction that pushes the Kingdom out of our lives…its loud and demanding. We need to take on this patient position often, carving out time to spend listening to the Father, so when we do speak we have His words. Just like Jesus did.
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” John 14:10
Soul clutter will rob us of patience (and joy, peace…you get the idea) and leave us vulnerable to missing relational refreshment. Waiting on the Lord is the extreme patience position and the one we need to assume. Here the Father speaks to His sons and daughters, renewing them as they wait patiently on Him.
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart”. Psalm 27:14
God is always talking; the question to ask is “are we listening?” Are we taking the time to patiently sit before Him just being quiet? Stillness is a spiritual pose as well as a physical one. It’s not a restriction of movement but curbing the soul clutter in our lives. When we make room for God to speak our priorities will change. The focus is upward and off ourselves.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be praised among the nations, I will be praised in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
The word still in Hebrew is râphâh (raw-faw') is translated “to slacken or drop” which is great advice. In this case it’s good to be a slacker, dropping the soul clutter and positioning ourselves to hear clearer.
Waiting on God Hearing aids:
- Listen Closely
“And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” James 1:19
- Discern Quickly
“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?1 Kings 3:9
“So that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless
until the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:10
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
- Submit Fully
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
“Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Hebrews 12:9
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
With an age range from 7 to 20, my small nation is sometimes a difficult terrain to navigate. For instance, having tea with my seven-year-old daughter is far different from having tea with my older daughter, who is nineteen. The time spent is equally important but the topics covered around the table are worlds apart. Five boys and two girls make up my small nation and although they carry many of same traits found in their parental units, each of them speak with their own distinctive style. Their similarities connect them to the Cookingham clan but their differences bring strength and vitality to our family. Still, the constant change of dialects makes for interesting connectivity issues. It may seem like the Tower of Babel at times, but successful communication does happen. It works best when the audio receiving units on each side of my face (Hint, Hint…my ears!) are in proper working order. In other words, when I am listening, active, determined listening. Patience retooling is mission critical in this arena.
Dads, I know we have important information to pass on. We have rules, instructions, teachings, and responsibilities to talk about. Still, since we have two ears and only one mouth, tell me what you think the Father considers important. Listening closely picks up on the subtle heartbeats (their thoughts, dreams and concerns) of our children and guides us deeper into their lives. This skill detects the most potent moment for instruction and we identify how to communicate as well as what to communicate. Listening communicates patience, and the wonderful by-product is healthier relationships.
“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich
Sometimes when you’re listening closely you may (and you will) hear something you don’t like. If that something offends us, our attitudes and pride will try to derail that moment of connection. That’s when we need to adjust the empathy setting on the listening units on both sides of our face. A decision, which says:
“I want to understand how you feel. Even if I think what I am hearing is incredibly wrong or mixed up, I will be patient and listen. Even if what I am hearing makes me angry, I will think about what you are saying, not about what I am going to say in return afterward.”
This choice lets my children know that I’m going to be listening to them, not just gathering information to argue about. That’s why patience is so huge, it’s the staying power needed to reach one another.