Ten Days Before Christmas
Ten Stories to open each day
From now until Christmas, we will be including a personal story each day about one of your fellow Catch Citizens and his/her interaction with the Catch Ministry. Today we hear from Terri in California.
Way back before there was a Catch ministry, in 1976, I stood in the back of a high school auditorium listening to John Fischer sing. The thing that struck me at the time was the sheer honesty and transparency of the lyrics.
I was struggling with a few things at the time, indeed, secretly dealing with depression. I knew I couldn’t share it with my Christian community – after all, such a thing was a lack of faith – but here was someone who was honest about the fact that Christians go through rough times, sometimes rougher times than others. I knew that from the Word, but to have it affirmed publicly made believing it much easier.
When I discovered The Catch a few years ago and reconnected with John’s ministry, I was struggling once again with the Christian subculture that had become more about whom you voted for than whom you served. It was a breath of fresh air to see the focus return to Christ. This year, because of changes in the overall public mood, I began to feel fearful of the world outside my doors. The prayer team and the weekly Church at the Catch gave me a great deal of encouragement, and the will to reconnect with the world at large. This ministry gave me back the world outside my door. For that, I am truly grateful.
But the fruit of the Spirit is …
[May I have the envelope, please …]
Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Eugene Peterson wrote a book whose title is a pretty good definition of today’s fruit of the Spirit. It’s called: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. That would be patience.
As peace implies conflict, so patience implies suffering. In the King James version of the Bible, this word is even translated: “longsuffering,” just as in 1 Corinthians 13 where instead of “love is patient,” it says, “love suffers long.” Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, does it? It’s ironic that joy and long-suffering come from the same source. That would mean you can have joy while you are suffering. (By the way, that helps define what kind of joy this joy is. It’s not a jumping up and down happiness, or the happiness that Snoopy and Charlie Brown seek. Joy is much more deep down. It can indeed co-exist with suffering.)
What do you need patience for? Well, in this culture, pretty much anything that isn’t instant. We have fast food, high speed Internet, instant gratification, email and texting. Anything you have to wait for takes patience. One of our Catch members is waiting for a husband. Many are in long-term cancer treatment. Others are without jobs, needing patience as they knock on doors. I’m in physical therapy since my operation in March and I’m losing patience rapidly.
Not at all on the same level, but still annoying: You can order instantly on Amazon, but you still have to wait for the delivery. Even waiting in line at the bank takes patience, or if you’re like me, any line at all!
Change takes time. To a certain extent we have to be patient with each other for the changes we hope for in character and personal development, although that must not be a copout for staying the same, especially when change is through the Holy Spirit.
And then there is the patience that all of us and all creation is exerting in terms of our ultimate redemption. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23).
I think we all wonder about our lives. We see dimly into the looking glass of God’s will. We get some of it; we don’t get all of it. We aren’t sure what God is doing in our lives, especially during difficult seasons, but we press on to receive the prize. We know that He is working everything in each one of our lives together to be a complete statement of His glory. We know this. This is His promise; no doubt about it.
So we claim the power of the Holy Spirit for what He can change in us, and the patience of the Spirit for what has been promised that we are waiting for. And, always with us for what we need, God continues to say, “As you wish.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is … patience. Against such there is no law.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24).
The power of prayer is an important part of the Catch Ministry and its people. We are a praying community that believes that our God hears and answers prayer — even in the in-between and very difficult times. The Catch Ministry’s vision for our Prayer Warriors and the ministry’s PrayerPartners is to cause our Catch citizen’s faith to grow and their prayer life increase.
Our Prayer Warriors are hand-picked by God to pray for your individual requests. Regardless of your concern or the level of your need, allow the Prayer Warriors to pray for you as the presence of the Lord is working in your life. Take advantage of this important part of our ministry. Click here to leave your prayer requests now or on the Catch Ministry app.