Keith White

An opportunity for Patience

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For the record, I am not a patient person.

Those of you who know me, know how true this is. I want it my way, right away. I have the Burger King mentality when it comes to things that I am passionate about. I know what I want and like most people, when I know this, I don’t want to wait.

I have been warned about praying for patience. When you pray for patience, will God give you the patience that you desire or will He give you an opportunity to be patient? Several times in my life, when I have felt God wanting me to learn patience, 2 things have been commonly true that I often forget about. 1 – He doesn’t give me patience, He gives me that opportunity to be patient. 2 – The wait is always worth it.

I had to wait almost 6 years for God to teach me patience and bring Stephanie into my life. That wait for her, has far exceeded any expectations that I could have had. I had to wait for approval to buy our home. Every job that I have ever gotten has been “Ok we have several others to interview we will call you once we have made a decision.” I have had several huge opportunities to be patient.

I have also prayed for many years to know what God has planned for me in my life. Sure I have a job. I have been in the HVAC industry now for about 22 years so I guess you would call that a career and not a job, but I am still employed when a lot of others are not. This is what I do, not who I am or who I desire to be. I have always wanted to be someone that makes a difference in the lives of others and not someone who does basic planning and computer work.
Within the past 2 years, it has become very clear to me that God has a plan for Stephanie and me in youth ministry of some capacity. She has done an amazing job with the youth at LMBC in drama and I have built relationships, mentored and worked with the kids in other various ministry areas. I have also had numerous opportunities to teach during our high school and middle school services. So each week, God shows me that I am, where He has me, for these kids, that we really love to be with.
The impatient side of me tries to force the issue. “I know God wants me in youth ministry, now I just have to find that open door.” I found out that within 20 miles of my front door there are 43 Baptist churches alone. There are additional Baptist churches in the town of Rockmart just west of our home. All of the baptist churches (60 of them to be exact in these 2 areas) got a letter from me and my resume for any openings they may have or openings they may know of. I thought surely one or two would have something. I got 3 letters back undeliverable and one email from a church thanking me but basically said they would pass it on as they did not have anything presently. 1 reply out of 60.
Talk about realizing you are forcing the issue. I was shocked to say the least but just when reality was about to hit, a church in Fayetteville, GA contacted me after receiving my resume from the Georgia Baptist Association. They were not one of the 60 that I sent out, but God moved and showed me that He would be the one opening the door for us, not me. I am still praying about that opening but God hasn’t closed that door in Fayetteville, for us yet.
Lump in my frustration with finding a youth ministry opening, throw that in with our church being without a pastor and me and Steph were losing the desire to go on Sunday mornings, I was about ready to bail. I was eager and willing to just walk away and find a band aid to the problem instead of finding a solution.

Oh how things can change…

God moved. He moved through the one person that I so often listen to and unfortunately, don’t hear. He changed Stephanie’s heart and now she was the one encouraging me to hold on. She was the one reminding me that God is in control. Her passion for drama was coming back. Her love of our church, the youth, the people and the friends we have met there, was holding on waiting for God. She allowed God to move through her and change me.
I love our church. I love the people in our church both young and old. This was the first church that Stephanie and I found together and it is our home, where people know us as the team we are. 99 times out of 100 if you see one of us, you see the other and I love that! I had hoped that the first ministry position that I have would be here and who knows what the future holds, but for now, we are sticking with our beloved LMBC through this difficult time in the life of our church or until God opens that door for us and moves us elsewhere.
I may still be frustrated with the lengthy search for a pastor at LMBC but I have remembered that the leadership of our church is made up of great men of God who only want the best for our church. These men know the frustrations of the members and they have to deal with it, on a volunteer basis. I may not agree with every decision they make, but I will support them. I may not like the length of time it has taken to find an interim pastor or a candidate for pastor, but leadership is doing the right thing and seeking God’s will before their own and I will stand by them.
I am still knocking on doors, seeking to find the youth ministry opening that God has for me and Steph that is just around the corner, but for now, thanks to a great God moving through an incredible Godly woman, Stephanie, I am at peace being patient for now knowing that regardless of how much I want things to be “my way right away” God’s plan is in His timing, not Keith’s.

Dear God,
Thank you for the opportunities You have given me in my life. I am so not worthy of the blessings that You have given me but I am greatful. I know that You are in control and that only through You can I accomplish the plans that You have for me, in Your time, not my own. Help me to be patient and wait on You as I only want to do Your will and not my own. Help me to remember the times in my life when You needed me to be patient and blessed my life for doing so.

Keith

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