“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” ~ Hebrews 11:1
It was a misty and foggy morning as I began writing today. I had plans to visit my granddaughter and great-granddaughters in Thornton for lunch. And I had a problem. Because of a medical condition, I lose my balance if I can’t see a horizon. I don’t have to be walking; this happens even if I am sitting. It is a very uncomfortable situation when I get caught in fog, rain or snow or if someone turns out the lights. I have to stop right where I am and wait until I have a horizon or someone helps me.
On our Daughters of the King retreat, each of us was given a card with a word and a question. We were asked to meditate and pray with these throughout the weekend. My word was “Patience” and my question, “Where in my life do I seek more patience?” I thought these odd. I am normally a patient person. I have learned to wait until a situation resolves itself knowing that God has something in mind and that it will eventually become clear. There is no particular reason to be anxious. So, why is this my word and where do I need patience?
Somehow, these two situations are connected. Since the beginning of Lent, I have had images or visions. These images are not outside of me; they appear full-blown in my head and I am not able to manipulate them. The image is of a path that splits and goes around both sides of a tree. I stood there alone until Jesus came to sit with me. Then we stood together facing the tree for a time after which we turned slightly to the path on the left. Here we need to wait for something to occur before we can proceed. My sense is that whatever must happen is not something I am to do. I have been carrying something and I am not sure what it is. For the last few days, the whole image is mostly obscured by mist or clouds.
Cloud images from scripture came to mind. A cloud led the Israelites out of Egypt. When the cloud moved, the people moved and when the cloud stopped, the people stopped. Today’s lesson from Exodus 24 tells of a cloud covering the top of the mountain when Moses goes to receive the 10 commandments. The cloud came and covered the meeting place where the Israelites worshiped. In Matthew 17, a bright cloud covered Jesus and others when he was transfigured. There are other places in scripture where God comes as cloud.
What does this all mean to me? God is often hidden when he comes to us. He works in us and our circumstances and we cannot always see or comprehend. We will have times when we have no idea where we are headed but we can trust the One who knows. We will have times when we need to wait until the Cloud moves. We may not have a horizon with which to orient ourselves. We have to wait.
What does this say to you? What is hidden for you? Where is God in this? Where do you need patience as you wait? Henri Nouwen says, “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”
“Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord….”—James 5:7