Patience is not my strong suit. I know that it is hard for many of us and particularly in a time of instant messaging, instant media, instant news, instant meals, instant coffee – well, maybe strike that last one – compared to previous eras, none of us can stand to be patient. Then, I read the words of Jesus: The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the Kingdom of God is like a field of wheat with weeds growing along-side the harvest, the Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field, the Kingdom of God is like a land-owner who invests in his servants and goes away on a long trip, and the Kingdom of God is like yeast that works its way through bread. Every one of these descriptions emphasises long time periods and a large degree of patience.
I took this video as I waited for my bread dough to rise. The video represents approximately 40 minutes of rising compressed into 20 seconds.
Yeast is slow. If you want to make bread you must be patient.
But I want speed. I love speed. I ride rollercoasters and go-carts to give myself a sense of speed. I have to work hard to stay within speed limits when I am on a scenic tour of the Rocky Mountains. The two and a half minutes it takes to heat up a cup and a half of water in the microwave seems too long; the two minutes I brush my teeth with an electric toothbrush are the longest two minutes of my day. I want change and I want it now. We have been waiting 12 weeks for our cities, our restaurants, our churches, our playgrounds, our libraries, our recreation centres, our borders, … to open up. We want change and we want it now. We want a vaccine, and we want it yesterday. When it comes to re-opening churches, when it has to do with the life of our church congregations, we especially want quick fixes. Some are already pressuring politicians and health authorities to let people back into church buildings. Is that wise?
The Kingdom of God is like yeast … The Kingdom of God is like a field of wheat … The Kingdom of God is like an investment …
Again, I remind myself, these illustrations call for time and patience. Can I slow down and let God work in my life? Can I wait for him to provide for my needs or must I run around frantically adding to my portfolio and my bank account while my heart is a wreckage of tension and fury?
Do we actually see the irony in our prayers? "Lord, I want patience - give it to me now." Maybe I should take one more look at that video of bread rising.