Ok, a quick confession, once I knew what I was writing I could not resist the idea of adding multiple question marks at the end of title.

Many years ago friends of mine moved church under somewhat painful circumstances as they had been on staff and then weren’t.  I met up with them a year or so later and they seemed in someway to be missing the mark and really confused about priorities.  A couple of years later when a mutual friend had some celebration, I think it was a marriage, they seemed back on track and talking about God, Jesus and church again.  I remember making the comment at the time that I had never seen such a spirit of confusion on people before.

Now I don’t usually go to the spooky extremities of Pentecostalism to explain what I see even though I have experienced some of them.  This was one of the exceptions to the rule.

At the same time I must now consider the issue of what happens when multiple choices confront someone and it is not yet clear what is the will of God?   Many years ago I felt I had five choices to decide between before the year was out and God would show me which one.  As it turned out I had been warned my job of that time would end due to problems with unions amongst other issue.  I interviewed locally and with someone overseas and eventually took the overseas position.  At the time it was all very confusing.

Theologically how do we process a number of things coming together at once and confusing us?  One answer is to argue for the sovereignty of God which is what I am inclined to but that implies God “brings” confusion.  Another is synchronicity especially as posited by Jung whereby these things are coincidental but come together at once.  Another is that in some way by having these things come together we are made more mature, like suffering.  Another is the idea that life is hard and we must sometimes make decisions without hearing a clear voice from God.  I always attribute this view of maturity to Philip Yancey but I think the idea pre-dates him.  Finally our own finitude must be accepted as part of the problem.

If I think about it how about a footprints type time when God carries us?  The storms we face metaphorically, are stilled by Jesus.  Yet these are always easier to deal with after the fact.  What do we do in the midst of a situation when we seem to have a Spirit of confusion as there are so many options?

As you can guess I’d like to say I have an answer but I am not sure I do.  In the end my friends came out of it.  For others I  know, I suspect they are still in the midst of it. One answer which is easy is to say “be patient” but this is not very pastoral or helpful to the hearer who wants an answer now.  Yet maybe in all these confusing situations God is teaching us patience to, dare I say it, bless us in the future both with patience and with renewed trust and hope.

So how does God teach you patience?