When I work hard to do something right and it gets spoiled, I feel surprised at first, then perturbed, and finally sad. The householder-master in this parable responds to the malevolent tampering with his hard work of sowing good seed with an objective response: “Somebody else did this.” I am like the servants in the story: Let me pull those weeds. Let me fix this now. Isn’t that how most of us would respond?
But the householder does nothing. At least that’s how it appears. He delays the clean-up. We often see God this way, as one who doesn’t care if justice is done or one who tolerates evil to avoid the trouble of confrontation. We wonder if God likes the troublemakers better.
Our problem with God is that God is patient and we are not. God waits and has a good reason to wait. God’s highest concern is not for removing the weeds but for protecting the wheat at all costs. Uprooting the weeds would cost the life of some of the wheat. What seems like inaction is God acting wisely in the interest of the ones who are productive and will grow into what they were created to be. In this way God seems to be “flying under the radar,” doing magnificent work that isn’t always recognized.
Doing something makes me feel better. But waiting on God isn’t doing nothing. Waiting can mean that we are discerning the situation, asking God what our part is and to nudge us when the timing is right. Waiting on God can be quite active—full of conversation and concern for others. Especially in the Psalms, the words wait and hope appear together (39:7; 62:5; 130:5) because they are two parts of the same thing. Sometimes hope looks like expectant waiting.
Patient God, when a quick fix will not solve my problems, help me to wait patiently for solutions by asking you for next steps and listening for your nudges of direction. Amen.
As God promised land and descendants to Abraham, in the reading from Genesis God confirms these same promises to Abraham’s grandson Jacob. The psalmist meditates on and takes comfort in the fact that God knows everything and is everywhere. He asks God to search his heart and reveal if there are sins away from which he needs to turn. The Romans passage continues Paul’s reflection on the life in the Spirit. Because we are children of God, we cry out with confidence that God will hear and answer. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew concerning the final judgment. He says that the wicked will be taken first, then the righteous will be gathered together.
Read Genesis 28:10-19a. When has God quietly been at work in your life? How do these experiences help you recognize God’s presence with you in ordinary days?
Read Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24. God already knows us completely. What is holding you back from inviting God to search your heart?
Read Romans 8:12-25. Consider the ways you already resemble God. In what ways to you need or wish to be transformed to resemble God more fully?
Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Reflect on a time when you were frustrated by God’s inaction in the face of injustice. In hindsight, how was God at work?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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