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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 28: For the impatient among us

The Day 28 chapter talks about how it takes a life time to become like Christ, explains why it takes so long, and recommends patience.  I have to admit, I'm not at all impatient about this.  I think its because I don't really aspire to be like Christ, I aspire to be like a buddhist or taoist monk - nothing seems to bother those guys, they appear constantly serene, and their koans seem a lot cooler than Jesus's parables.  Maybe that's just because I grew up with Jesus's parables but the koans remain exotic. Maybe if I knew more about Jesus, I would find becoming like Christ more appealing.

This chapter again contends that God creates problems in our lives so we will draw near to him.  I note, however, that unlike practically every other point the Rick Warren makes in the book, he has no bible versus quoted to back this contention.  I'm glad that it might just be his point of view, because the only sane response to someone who trys to attract you to them by causing you problems is to slowly back away from them making no sudden movements until you are out of the room - then run like hell.

The chapter does have some good suggestions on how to "cooperate with God":
  • believe God is working in your life - while somethings happen quickly, other things take time
  • don't get discouraged - a delay is not a denial by God
  • keep a notebook of lessons learned - it will help you remember the lessons so you don't need to be taught them again! [I also find there is something about having things in black and white that is impossible to ignore.  For a decade now my natropath has been at me to give up diary foods because it blocks my sinuses, and I've been sort of off diary in a half hearted way for a few years now.  A few days ago I decided to start writing down everything that I ate so I could monitor what gives me energy and makes me feel good and vice versa.  The first day I had a glass of milk on my cereal and within minutes my sinsuses where congested.  Staring at my notes that night before going to bed (with a still congested nose), I thought, "why do I do this to myself, its just stupid" and now I just don't want to go near the stuff.]
  • be patient with God - his timetable rarely matches ours.  This reminded me of Joseph (he of the amazing technocolour dreamcoat), he was sold to slave traders by his brothers (who then told their father he was dead), he is then sold to the captain of the guard in Egypt and serves him faithfully until the captain's wife accuses him of attempted rape when he resists her advances.  Joseph then spends years in jail until he is give the opportunity to interpret two dreams for the pharaoh and recommends a way to deal with a forecast famine in the land. As a reward, the pharaoh puts him in charge of all of Egypt.  When I first read this story I thought it unfair that God made Joseph wait so long in prison, just to be in the right place for the pharoah to find him when he needs him.  However, reading it again now, it strikes me that as a child he helped on his fathers farm, as a slave he proved his worth and was put in charge of an estate, in prison he refined his dream interpretation skills, so when the time came, he was ready to meet the pharaoh and had the skills required to run a country.  All the while, he trusted God and did not complain.
    I think I want to be like Joseph even more than I want to be like a buddhist monk.

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