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Seeing through Eyes of Patience

You've heard it in churches:

“Don’t live another moment in your sin!”

“You may not have another chance… today is the day!”

The Christian community is good at applying pressure. The message is "Now or never! You need to grow up... instantly!"

OCD pressures us with the same demanding, urgent tone.

I have to understand God now...

Know if I’m saved now...

Research this topic now...

These are telltale signs that OCD is showing up. When you research and learn out of fun and curiosity, it's not OCD. But if your research becomes demanding and urgent, you know you're in an OCD compulsion.

But we need to break free from urgency and learn the way of patience. Instead of seeking instant answers, Hannah Anderson says we must learn to wait. We must let “to let knowledge ripen on the vine.”[1] Life is complicated; it’s difficult to come up with quick solutions.

The parable of the sower is a prime example. The seeds that sprang up quickly were not the seeds that brought lasting growth and change. (see Luke 8)

Hannah Anderson reminds us that Jesus was not in a hurry with his disciples. He did not demand they understand right away or grow up instantly (see John 16:12-14). Jesus is comfortable with the developmental process. He was comfortable with the disciples not knowing everything right away. He told them that His Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth. He didn’t say, “If you don’t understand everything today, you cannot be my disciple.” Instead, he said, “I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

Esther Lightcap Meek says we need to become comfortable with “being on the way to knowing.” Knowing is a process… grappling with clues, finding answers. Along the journey, we have “partial knowledge." She points to Copernicus, who discovered the orbit of the earth around the sun; but he thought the orbit was round instead of oval.

Do we need to discount his entire process of discovery, just because he’s “not quite right?” No. We must be patient with the process.

Evangelicals often struggle with partial knowledge. They discount the discovery process. Evangelicals slap labels on someone's quest for clues. They'll look at someone grappling authentically with reality and say, "He's twisting the truth," "Truth with a bit of error is 100% wrong," "She's so close but so far."

But what if that person is "on the way to knowing"? What if they are finding key clues that will lead to God? What if they’ve found a key clue and are grappling authentically with reality, which they will soon discover if we don’t "chop at the root" of their understanding? We need to learn to be patient with the process of coming to know.

Your safety doesn’t come from knowing the answers. Your safety comes from Jesus. Hannah Anderson explains, “When you are safe, suddenly you can open yourself up to the possibility that you might not know everything. You can open yourself up to the possibility that you never will. And then you can finally rest.”[1]

[1] Hannah Anderson, Humble Roots, pg. 130


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