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Patience - Pastor's Pen for 20th November 2022

Kendall's Bay evening light

Stumbling along a tricky little bush track a bit lost on Wednesday, then popping out into the evening light for a beautiful view of the Waitemata Harbour. There was the small matter of getting back up the hill to Birkenhead, but it was worth it for the view. It seemed better than plodding along the road without thinking, and the patience required for way-finding was rewarded.

Not knowing what is going on can make us anxious. Remember in the Book of Exodus, the people of Israel were waiting for Moses to descend the mountain. Sure, he was up there rather a long time;

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ (Ex 32:1)

So then, regardless of God's specific and previous prohibition of idol worship, the people have Aaron fashion a golden calf for them, that they might worship something. The whole episode would be rather comic if it wasn't so sad. What a dumb idea.

Imagine if the people had a little more patience, without taking matters into their own hands. It was a time when waiting patiently upon the Lord would have been preferable to doing anything, when the actions taken were so reprehensible to God.

This is a balancing act for us, as believers in the Lord. To act decisively, or to wait and pray. Most certainly in these challenging times for churches, we need the discernment, the filling, the presence of the Holy Spirit to make right choices in God.

Sometimes things are clear, a course of action might be called a 'no-brainer'. Let's get on with it. Other times it's not so clear. We may feel the silence, even the absence of God, just as as the non-return of Moses and the silence of Yahweh disturbed the Israelites those centuries ago.

A sense of holy waiting and also godly action are two things we need. Lord teach us when to move, and when to listen. Give us the patience required for way-finding O God.

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