The Power of Patience

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy Saadi

Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, I always thought of baseball as a way of life. I couldn’t get enough of it. But along with the hitting and fielding, I developed a growing irritation for anything that didn’t work out for me. I got bugged by things that took time.

Without my seeing it, this impatience began to carry over into various parts of my life. I remember once standing in line in the high school batting cage. I was anxious to take some extra cuts and annoyed that others were taking too many. I rudely pushed my way ahead of a couple of players.

I heard the coach holler out to me, “Hey, Ron, patience is a virtue.” I laughed and said sure, but I couldn’t make it to the big leagues by just standing around. Guys who wait I figured, just didn’t go anywhere.

In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, “Thought Conditioners”. Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader

I felt my not waiting had paid off when, in my senior year at high school, after a good season, the New York Yankees signed me to a major league contract. It all seemed fantastic. The Yankees signed me for a nice bonus, and some New York newspapers were beginning to call me the “Jewish Babe Ruth.”

That summer the Yankees sent me to their rookie league in Tennessee. I did pretty well there and felt I would sail right into the big leagues in the next year, 1968. Well, the next year the Yankees decided they wanted me to have a bit more training and sent me to the Carolina League.

After two more years in the minor leagues, I really felt discouragement getting to me and because of it, I pushed extra hard. I was so anxious to be called up that I began to try for a home run every time I got up to bat that year. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time it didn’t.

The spring of 1971 was chilly and brisk in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the Yankees hold their training camp. I was invited to camp that year and knew it was to be my big chance.

The fall before, I had got married, and I brought my wife Mara down to Florida with me. I told her this year was it for me and I had to do it now, or else.

Right away, problems began. I hurt my back chasing a fly ball on the first day of practice. Then the Yankees said they wanted me to be an outfielder, not a first baseman like I’d always been.

I worked hard but couldn’t seem to do anything right. I was too eager. I charged in too fast on ground balls and lunged and missed pitches while straining for home runs. In my anxiety to do good quickly, I fell flat on my face. I was one of the first players cut—it was to be back to the minors again.

I told Mara that’s it. We’d go home instead, back to Atlanta. I would finish up my degree in physical education.

Back home, I moped for several days. One evening Mara and I went to temple and as we were coming out, I ran into my old friend and rabbi, Harry Epstein. I told him I had been dropped again by the Yankees but that it was just as well, for I was tired of hanging on.

Rabbi Epstein then asked me what it was deep in my heart that I really wanted to be. I answered with the first thing that came to me—a professional ballplayer.

“Well, he said, “it seems to me what you need most is to unhurry yourself. If you sincerely want something, learn to wait for God to put it in place. It doesn’t matter if it’s baseball or anything else in life. You must have this perspective.”

I told him I had waited enough—three and a half years. I couldn’t do it anymore.

“You must, though,” he said, “for there are reasons why God makes you wait. He will help you get there when the time comes.”

Two days later I was home waiting for Mara. We were going to the movies and she was slow in dressing. “Hey, C’mon,” I yelled, “we’ll be late.” Mara came out of the bedroom, still not ready, and gave me a cross look. “Can’t you wait for anything?” she asked angrily.

I looked at her, surprised. “I’m sorry,” I said after a moment, and with that, I suddenly realized how far my “hurry-upness” had taken me. I had turned into a nervous whiner who couldn’t stand for the slightest interruptions in life.

“We’re not going to the movies,” I said quickly. Then I reached for the telephone. After some dialing, I managed to get hold of a Yankee official in New York. I asked him if it was too late for me to report to the minors. No, he said, and the Yankees were wondering why I wasn’t there.

When Mara and I got to the minor league team in Syracuse, I remembered to do one thing. That was to unhurry myself. To relax and not press so hard. I even learned to play the outfield.

I began hitting consistently, and things went very well. My team was winning, and I was enjoying it. Then on June 25, the call came. The Yankees wanted me up in the majors. They felt I was finally ready, and so did I.

It was a great year for me in 1971. I hit .322 as a major-leaguer and had seven home runs. Probably the most memorable event of that year came in September.

We were playing Cleveland at home and the game was on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish high holiday. This meant that to observe the tenets of my Orthodox faith I would have to end my work before sundown, the beginning of the holy day. Since I had already explained this to the New York Yankee officials and players, they understood that I might have to leave the ballpark before the game was over.

The score was tied and it looked like the game was going into extra innings. We had runners on first and third bases, and I was up. Huge shadows now blanketed the outfield of Yankee Stadium as darkness approached. I might not get a chance to bat.

I went to the plate with one eye on Steve Dunning, the Cleveland pitcher, and the other on the skyline. I was nervous and eager, but my confidence in the God who had helped bring me to the majors was now so deep that I would stop my bat in the middle of my swing and walk off the field if the sun began to set.

I looked out at Dunning and was ready to swing at the first pitch to push things. Then I caught myself. Even though the sun was now only partially visible, I knew I had to wait for the pitch I liked.

I watched two pitches go by, then came a high fast ball. I swung and hit it on a line to right field to send home the winning run.

With that swing, I took another big step in learning the value of patience. More important, I learned that when you trust God in all things and are faithful to Him, He gives you strength and power in every area of life.

Today’s article was written by Ron Blomberg and is shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/entertainment/sports/the-power-of-patience

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Trusting in God…

SHIPWRECKED

A “true” story that Billy Graham spoke about. It is about trusting God even when we can’t see what’s ahead for us.

There was a man who became shipwrecked on a deserted island years ago. He managed to build himself a hut to live in and with it stored the possessions he was able to salvage from his boat after it was wrecked.

He would watch every day for some sign of a ship or airplane passing by. He prayed to God for help. Some days he would get discouraged and wonder if he would ever get off that island, but still … he prayed.

One day he was on the other end of the island and noticed some smoke coming from the direction of his hut. He ran as fast as he could back to the hut and then he realized that his fears had come true. His hut and all his belongings were destroyed by a fire. All that was left was the smoke and rubble of it all.

He asked God why did this have to happen. He did not understand. Soon he would find out. Later that day a ship appeared on the horizon and soon landed on the island and rescued him. They told him that they were plotting a distinct course and noticed smoke off in the distance and thought the smoke was a signal for help.

It was a sign for much needed help and it was a sign from God that He was still in control and He would not forsake His beloved child even if there was a doubt or not.

Out of the ashes of this life we can build another day! We can have beauty for ashes.

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: https://2jesus.org/inspstories/shipwrecked.html

 

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How to Have Faith in God

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen Ralph Waldo Emerson

THE 7 HABITS OF PEOPLE WHO PLACE RADICAL TRUST IN GOD

I read a lot of biographies and memoirs about inspiring people who place radical trust in God. (By “radical” I don’t mean reckless or imprudent, but am referring to the difficult, very counter-cultural act of recognizing God’s sovereignty over every area of our lives. More on that here.) From He Leadeth Me to God’s Smuggler, Mother Angelica to The Heavenly Man to The Shadow of His Wings, these true stories are about people from all walks of the Christian life: Catholic and Protestant, consecrated religious and lay people, men and women. And yet they all have distinct similarities in their approaches to life and the Lord.

I found it fascinating to see what common threads could be found in the lives of these incredible people who place so much trust in the Lord, and thought I’d share in case others find it inspiring as well.

1. THEY ACCEPT SUFFERING

One of the most powerful things I’ve read in recent memory is Brother Yun’s story of being a persecuted pastor in China, as recounted in the book The Heavenly Man. After facing weeks of torture, including electrocution, starvation, beatings, and having needles shoved under his fingernails, he was thrown in a box that was four feet long, three feet wide, and four feet high, where he would stay indefinitely. The day after he was put in this mini cell, he felt prompted to pray for a Bible — a ridiculous idea, considering that many people were in prison at that very moment for being in possession of such contraband. Yet he prayed anyway. And, inexplicably, the guards threw a Bible into his cell the next morning. He writes:

I knelt down and wept, thanking the Lord for this great gift. I could scarcely believe my dream had come true! No prisoner was ever allowed to have a Bible or any Christian literature, yet, strangely, God provided a Bible for me! Through this incident the Lord showed me that regardless of men’s evil plans for me, he had not forgotten me and was in control of my life.

Now, the less saintly among us (cough-cough) might have reacted to that a little differently. Had I been tortured and thrown in a coffin-like cell, my reaction to receiving a Bible would have likely been more along the lines of, “Thanks for the Bible, Lord, but could we SEE ABOUT GETTING ME OUT OF THIS METAL BOX FIRST?!?!” I wouldn’t have even “counted” the Bible as an answered prayer since my main prayer — reducing my physical suffering — had gone unanswered.

Yet what I see over and over again in people like Brother Yun is that they have crystal clarity on the fact that suffering is not the worst evil — sin is. Yes, they would prefer not to suffer, and do sometimes pray for the relief of suffering. But they prioritize it lower than the rest of us do — they focus far more on not sinning than on not suffering. They have a laser focus on getting themselves and others to heaven. In Brother Yun’s case, he saw through that answered prayer that God was allowing him to grow spiritually and minister to his captors, so his circumstances of suffering in an uncomfortable cell became almost irrelevant to him.

2. THEY ACCEPT THE INEVITABILITY OF DEATH

Similar to the above, people who place great trust in God can only do so with a heaven-centered worldview. They think in terms of eternity, not in terms of calendar years. Their goal is not to maximize their time on earth, but rather to get themselves and as many other people as possible to heaven. And if God can best do that by shortening their lifespans, they accept that.

The Shadow of His Wings is filled with jaw-dropping stories of Fr. Goldmann’s miraculous escapes from death during World War II, which begs the question, “What about all the people who didn’t escape death?” Fr. Goldmann would probably respond by saying that God saving him from death was not the blessing in and of itself — after all, every single one of us will die eventually. The blessing was saving him from death so that he could continue his ministry bringing the Gospel to the Nazis. He eventually died while building a ministry in Japan, and presumably accepted that God would bring good from his passing, even though there was undoubtedly more work he wanted to do.

3. THEY HAVE DAILY APPOINTMENTS WITH GOD

I have never heard of a person who had a deep, calm trust in the Lord who did not set aside time for focused prayer every day. Both in the books I’ve read and in real life, I’ve noticed that people like this always spend at least a few moments — and up to an hour or two if circumstances permit — focused on nothing but prayer, every day. Also, they tend to do it first thing in the morning, centering themselves in Christ before tackling anything else the day may bring.

4. IN PRAYER, THEY LISTEN MORE THAN THEY TALK

I’ve written before about my amazement that really holy people seem to get their prayers answered more often than the rest of us. I’d heard enough stories of people praying for something very specific, then receiving it, that I started to wonder if they were psychic or God just liked them more than the rest of us or something. What I eventually realized is that their ideas about what to pray for came from the Holy Spirit in the first place, because they spent so much time seeking God’s will for them, day in and day out.

So, to use the example of a famous story from Mother Angelica’s biography, she had a satellite dish delivery man at the door who needed $600, 000 or he was going to return the dish, thus killing all the plans for the new station. She ran to the chapel and prayed, and a guy she’d never met randomly called and wanted to donate $600, 000. Her prayer wasn’t answered because she had a personal interest in television and just really, really wanted it, but because she had correctly discerned God’s plan that she was to start a television station on this particular day.

5. THEY LIMIT DISTRACTIONS

Of all the amazing stories in God’s Smuggler, one of the lines that jumped out to me the most in the book was in the epilogue, when the authors talk about how Brother Andrew’s work has continued in 21st century:

“I won’t even consider installing one of those call waiting monstrosities, ” he exclaimed, “that interrupt one phone conversation to announce another.” Technology, Andrew says, makes us far too accessible to the demands and pressures of the moment. “Our first priority should be listening in patience and silence for the voice of God.”

Far too accessible to the demands and pressures of the moment. That line has haunted me ever since I read it. I love technology, but it does come with a huge temptation to feel a general increase in urgency in our lives: I have to reply to that email! Respond to that comment on my wall on Facebook! Ret-tweet that tweet! Read that direct message! Listen to that voicemail! Here in the connected age, we are constantly bombarded with demands on our attention. Periods of silence, where we can cultivate inner stillness and wait for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, are increasingly rare.

One thing that all the people in these books have in common is that they had very little of this pressure of false urgency. It’s hard to imagine Fr. Ciszek coming up with the breathtaking insights about God’s will that he shared in He Leadeth Me with his iPhone buzzing alerts every few minutes, or Brother Yun seeing the subtle beauty of God’s plan in the midst of persecution while keeping his Twitter status updated on a minute-by-minute basis.

6. THEY SUBMIT THEIR DISCERNMENT TO OTHERS

People who have a long history of watching the way the Lord works in their lives notice that he often speaks through holy friends, family members and clergy. If they discern that God is calling them to something, especially if it’s something big, they ask trusted Christian confidantes to pray about the matter and see if they discern the same thing. And when others warn them not to follow a certain path — especially if it’s a spouse, confessor or spiritual director — they take those indicators very seriously.

7. THEY OFFER THE LORD THEIR COMPLETE, UNHESITATING OBEDIENCE

One of my favorite parts of God’s Smuggler is when Brother Andrew got a visit from a man named Karl de Graaf who was part of a prayer group in which people often spent hours of time in prayer, most of it listening in silence:

I went out to the front stoop, and there was Karl de Graaf. “Hello!” I said, surprised.

“Hello, Andy. Do you know how to drive?”

“Drive?”

“An automobile.”

“No, ” I said, bewildered. “No, I don’t.”

“Because last night in our prayers we had a word from the Lord about you. It’s important for you to be able to drive.”

“Whatever on earth for?” I said. “I’ll never own a car, that’s for sure.”

“Andrew, ” Mr. de Graaf spoke patiently, as to a slow-witted student, “I’m not arguing for the logic of the case. I’m just passing on the message.” And with that, he was striding across the bridge.

Despite his initial hesitation, Brother Andrew discerned that this was something that God was calling him to do, so he learned to drive. It seemed like a complete waste of time, an utterly illogical use of his resources, but he was obedient to the Lord’s call. I won’t spoil what happened next for those of you who plan to read the book, but let’s just say that shortly after he received his license, it turned out to be critical to the future of his ministry (which eventually brought the Gospel to thousands of people behind the Iron Curtain) that he know how to drive.

I often think of how Mr. de Graaf responded when Brother Andrew was scratching his head about this odd message: “That’s the excitement in obedience, ” he said. “Finding out later what God had in mind.”

Obviously we can’t grow closer to God by aping the actions of others, but I find lists like this helpful as a starting point for reflection on my own spiritual progress. I hope you found it helpful as well!

Today’s article was written by Jennifer Fulwiler and is shared from the following website: http://jenniferfulwiler.com/2011/04/7-habits-trust-god/

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Trusting in the Lord

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God Corrie Ten BoomPeople going through tough times often wonder, Why is God letting me go through this? Is there a point?That was me in seventh grade. At the time, I thought it was the worst year of my life. Anybody who knows me has heard me say that. But now I know better.

Without that year, I would not be who I am today.

I am a missionary kid (or MK). I have lived in the Czech Republic, the second most atheistic nation in the world, since I was 4-years-old. I’m naturally shy so it’s tough for me to make friends. But to make matters worse, I was growing up in a foreign country, where I didn’t fully know the language and where every kid I met thought Christianity was the dumbest thing on the planet. Let’s just say I felt like there was no hope for a close friend.

And then it all got worse. We moved to California for a year before returning to the Czech Republic. I had no idea what living in America was like, and now I had to attend seventh grade there. Sure, I’d been to America once during our missionary service. But it was for four months. Now, I was going to go to school there. I had no idea what Abercrombie was, who Rihanna was, or even how to relate to American kids.

I knew from the very first day at school that things were very different from the Czech schools. People talked differently, dressed differently, acted differently, and even thought differently. I did not fit in, and I didn’t know how to fix that. I was doomed to be the class outcast, the weirdo of seventh grade. And I was. The many insults that I received hurt deeply.

I had been taught all my life about God and Christianity. But before my seventh grade year, God was kinda just there—not really doing anything. He was like wallpaper. But now, I was broken. I was spiritually hungry and thirsty. I thought that if God couldn’t help me, no one could. One day, I opened my Bible and Psalm 31 stared back at me: “For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord. … In the shelter of your presence you hide [those who fear you]; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. … You heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help” (NIV).

I knew it was no coincidence my Bible fell open to this psalm. I devoured the passage and literally felt a hunger for more. Through his Word, God showed me that I was not alone, and that I just had to trust in him to make the best of it. When I gave him my whole heart, my life opened up. He gave me joy for each new day. He helped me find a few friends around the school and taught me how to let him be my Best Friend. He gave me many opportunities to live out the instruction to turn the other cheek. Life was still very hard. I still cried myself to sleep a lot. Some of what the kids at school said still wounded me badly. But, still, things were different.

I knew that God had a plan, that he had a reason for all the pain and strife I was going through. I didn’t know what he was planning, but who am I to argue with the God of the Universe? I couldn’t see it then, but as I look back now, God has revealed how he used me that year. For instance, there were several students in my class who came from a different country or whom nobody liked. I realize that, with my experience with living in a different culture and being the social outcast, I was the ideal person to reach out and relate to them.

I noticed lessons of that year when we moved back to Czech. I began eighth grade in yet another new school and I had to make new friends all over again. In America, I’d learned how to stand up for myself, how to make a good yet truthful impression, how to laugh at my mistakes, and how to overcome most of my shyness.

Needless to say, I had a very enjoyable eighth grade year. Since then, too, my life has been much more rewarding. With less shyness, I have been able to act in my school’s plays and participate in more group activities. God has blessed me with close friends who encourage and strengthen me. He has shown me how to be a better friend.

Most importantly, he used that year to draw me closer to him. I could have never imagined this relationship with him two years ago. God surely used the bad for good. James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).

Today’s post was written by Jessica Dagen. Jessica is currently attending high school in the Czech Republic. Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/truelifestories/ithappenedtome/bestandworstyear.html?start=2

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Trust in the Lord With All Thine Heart…

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean  not unto thine own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5Trusting in the Lord requires faith and accepting the design and timing of the Lord.

I have often struggled with trusting in the Lord with all my heart. The positive side to that struggle is that the Lord never gives up on me and is always willing to let me repent and try again.

I know that trusting in the Lord is always the best choice – it just it not always the easiest choice or the most obvious choice. Often, I have thought that I was trusting fully in the Lord only to find, in retrospect, that I was holding back in some way.

If you sometimes struggle to trust in the Lord, I hope you will take the time to read today’s story.Today’s story shares a wonderful lesson in Trusting the Lord!:

Trust in God’s Plan for You

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said, “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure in the world!” The second little tree looked out at a small stream trickling by on it’s way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world.”

The third tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave this mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they will raise there eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.” Years passed. Rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. “Now I will be made into a beautiful chest. I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said. The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “this tree is strong, it is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!” The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looker her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter toppled it. Any kind of tree will do for me.” he muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was covered in saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead, the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail an ocean, or even a river; instead she was taken to a small lake. The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” the once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God.”

Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I could make a cradle for him, her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew she was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand and said, “Peace, be still.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew she was carrying the King of Heaven and Earth. Early one morning a couple years later, the third tree was startled when her beam was yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But three days later, with he sun shining and the earth trembling beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong, And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God, that was better than being the tallest tree in the world!

Story shared from the following website: https://2jesus.org/inspstories/trust.html

 

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