At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Read the rest of the chapter, here.)
I love this little Jesus utterance at the end of the chapter. It sounds a bit wistful, like a divine version of “I really want to have another drink with you guys, but my Dad needs my help at the shop in the morning.” Think about it: Jesus has just been tempted by the devil and then driven out of Nazareth by an angry crowd. In Capernaum, he is able to perform miracles and save people’s lives – something I’ve never done myself but it sounds like a pretty nice high – and people actually like him for it. They liked him so much they tried to keep him from leaving. Even if he never had any intention of staying there forever, I bet that the idea of setting down roots in such receptive soil appealed to Jesus, even as just a passing fantasy.
I’m not Jesus, but I do feel compelled to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. The problem is, I seem to be suffering lately from a bit of writer’s block, my friends. I feel like I am just…waiting. That whatever this time is in my personal life, it is a period that must just be lived through, because living into it is too overwhelming. I am eager to get on with my work, but maybe it’s not quite time to do so, yet.
At thirty-four I like to think of myself as still young – very young, hopefully, with many, many productive decades ahead. I have to remind myself often that this (“this” being the blog, parenting, marriage, life…) is not a race. In yet another instance of when I felt like Alice Walker was writing just for me, she dedicates a whole poem to “young writers who itch, usually before they are ready, to say the words that will correct the world.” (I encourage you to look up the poem, entitled Reassurance, which is in both In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens and Revolutionary Petunias.) Maybe I’m just not ready yet, and this is God’s way of slowing me down until I am.
Maybe right now I need to take my cue from the earlier part of this chapter. Jesus had his patience tried by the devil and by man before pushing through to Capernaum. I’m not saying roll over and take abuse, but patiently enduring less-than-desirable situations is part of the journey. Indeed, waiting can be every bit as important as doing. It is – or at least, does not have to be – wasted time. In another one of my favorite books, God of Earth, Kristin Swenson dedicates a whole chapter to the idea of waiting on God. “Waiting is different than resting,” she says, “waiting has an energy of its own. It presumes attendance and attention. It’s a kind of action, even as it is a forced inaction.” In other words, when it comes to our relationship with God, there is an action implied in waiting, an active listening, if you will. So even when it feels like God isn’t with us, like we’re waiting on God to return to us, God is there. No one likes to be told to wait, no one wants to be uncomfortable or unsure, but I feel I must grudgingly admit to myself that sometimes you’ve just got to push through, endure, and patiently wait. If it was necessary for Jesus, then it is probably necessary for me, and for you.
So for now, I’m going to pray, and endure. And would you look at that? By pushing through, I’ve managed to write 700 words. It’s not my best entry, and no where near my longest. It took a false start on a different chapter, eight different revisions, but here I am, still proclaiming the Good News even when I don’t know what to say. Know that God is with you, no matter what. I pray that your way may be made clear, as well.
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