Faith and Patience

In this age of instant information – much of it with questionable veracity – it can be difficult to ascertain what is TRUE and what is simply horse feathers (a term used in place of “bullsh!t” by my older relatives when I was growing up)

The pace with which information goes viral is such a problem that businesses have emerged to assist people in cleaning up their online reputations.

I forget which recent story had me pondering this, but the protestations of a recent public figure, caught in a mess (not sure yet if it’s of his own making or a smear campaign) reminded me of the story of Joseph and Potifar’s wife.

Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers and had shown himself to be a valuable asset, and was working in the employ of Potifar – an official in the government/kingdom of Egypt. Potifar trusted him and relied on him for advice, and more; giving Joseph a lot of clout in Potifar’s household and among Potifar’s colleagues and friends.

Potifar had a wife who was feeling neglected and who tried repeatedly to get Joseph to sleep with her. He refused multiple times, but the last time, she grabbed his garment to pull him to her, and he bolted; but as he ran, she held his garment.

Embarrassed, angry (or both!) at being so boldly rejected, she cried out that he had tried to rape her, and held up his piece of clothing as “proof“. Poor Joseph stood accused of a terrible crime, and was thrown in jail.

Joseph was unfairly accused of doing something when in truth he was not only in the wrong place at the wrong time; but he had actively tried to avoid the circumstances on multiple occasions. Still, he ended up in jail.

Sometimes in life, we end up “in jail” for things we did not do. We may end up in financial distress, even though we’re working hard, doing all the right things, and striving to do better every day. Other times we may find that we are disliked and ostracized at work, even though we go in every day with a positive attitude, treat everyone around us with kindness, and contribute at a high level, helping others whenever we can.

Whatever the unfair circumstance that we find ourselves in, we can look to the story of Joseph and Potifar’s wife for some good news.

20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.

Genesis 39

Although being in prison was a hardship, it was made better by the fact that Joseph had special treatment by the prison keeper, and had special privileges. Genesis accounts for this as the favor of God; metaphysically we would interpret that favor as being someone who understood the concept of Omnipresence.

Spiritually-aware people understand that no matter how things appear on the outside, Spirit is right there in the middle of things, and it’s going to work out. It may not work out the way we want it, or on our timetable; but ultimately things are going to be OK.

While in the prison, Joseph interpreted dreams for 2 new prisoners, both of which came true. One of the prisoners was freed and had access to Pharaoh, who, some 2 years later, had a troubling dream that none of his wise men could interpret. The former prisoner remembered that Joseph had interpreted his dream accurately, and shared this with Pharaoh.

Pharaoh summoned Joseph, who interpreted the dream, and – long story short: Joseph ended up not only being freed from prison, but being put in a position of power and status in the land.

41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!”[e] Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Genesis 41

The big picture story of Joseph is easy to recall, but we must not gloss over the part of the story that outlines the path he walked before he was given Pharaoh’s signet ring:

  • betrayed by family/sold into slavery
  • falsely accused of something he didn’t do
  • several years in prison

I have written about the life work of Neville Goddard in several previous posts (Pray Like Neville and Neville’s Gifts), including one where I outline his regular reference to the world of Caesar. While we can absolutely count on spiritual Law to work in our favor when we are walking in alignment with principle; it often works for us within the context of the world we live in – Caesar’s world, or the physical world we all know and inhabit.

The story of Joseph is the telling of this Truth. Joseph was indeed spared and sustained by Spirit; but he had to walk to his freedom through the world of Caesar, which in his case was slavery and prison.

Like Daniel who had to spend the night in a den of Lions, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago who had to go into the fiery furnace – Joseph had to accept his miracle within the context of this world.

Also like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago; Joseph was never alone. And neither are we.

I opened this post with a mention of the pace in society today (seemingly instant everything). To tap into the miracles experienced by Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednago and others we must channel their faith and their patience.

When we’re standing in a prison, unfairly accused and sentenced, are we singularly focused on finding the escape hatch (lottery ticket, new job) or can we relax and look patiently for the signs all around us that we are not alone?

It’s not easy to react patiently and peacefully when facing lions, fiery furnaces or an unfair prison sentence. The story of Joseph reminds us that the game of life is a long game. It invites us to live in faith, connected to Source and with patience, knowing that – regardless of how things appear – all is well, and working out for our Highest Good. And when we learn to walk this way, we will find more peace along the path of life.

And so it is.

Perspective

I’m having some challenges at work. I have people leaving who are taking good skills with them. And while I bless their upward mobility, they will be hard to replace in the short term. My boss is moving on and many of his responsibilities are going to sit at my feet – also in the short term. I’m feeling the stress of it all and I’m not very happy about it.

This stress followed me home last night, and when I arrived on my street, two cars were parked so close to my driveway that I couldn’t pull in – and there was no parking on the street. I lost it: I stopped traffic and laid on the horn until someone came running to move one of the cars.

I was so angry that I was still ranting and raving as I gathered my things and went into the house. And then I felt like a jerk. I am certain that neither driver intended to ruin my day – it just happened, and I didn’t act very evolved, even though that’s what I strive for on a regular basis.

peace offerings

I felt so bad about my tantrum that later in the evening I went to the store and picked up a potted mum to give to the neighbors to apologize for my angry outburst.

While in line at the store – I had one item – I ended up behind several other people with one item, waiting for a mother and her teenage daughter to self-scan their 35 items, standing under a sign that read “12 items only“.

My blood pressure started to rise again, and I wanted to ask the clerk who had to keep helping the 35-item crew if reading was optional these days (yes, that would have been an asshole comment).

But I got a hold of myself as I began to realize that this was twice today that I had encountered a situation that gave me an opportunity to react in one way or another.

When it came to the parking snafu, I chose poorly and reacted in a way that left me feeling disappointed in myself. Now here I was with another opportunity to be a jerk, or to not be a jerk.

To be (a jerk), or not to be (a jerk). That is the question.

I talked myself down from being a jerk, and waited quasi-patiently until it was my turn. I ended up right behind the 35-item customers who left their receipt dangling off the printer. When I pulled it off, I noticed the totals that indicated payments for food using a combination of cash and Food Stamps (EBT).

I was immediately glad that I hadn’t been an elitist asshole. Here I was, in line about to spend $10 without really thinking about it because I am fortunate in that regard; and the women in line ahead of me, creating all the irritation in the grocery line, were struggling with things I’ve never struggled with in my life.

There are so many lessons here. I know I need to work on managing my anger response about things that are not intentional (for some reason, when people park in front of my driveway and I can’t get out or in, it sets me off like a roman candle). I will work harder to practice the pause when I feel this anger rise up. I will also remember the lesson of the 35-items in the 12-item checkout line.

I know that when things come up repeatedly, it’s a tap on the shoulder to examine something about myself and to ask myself what I need to change to support my continued evolution. Today was such a day. And while I failed miserably in some ways, in other ways I did better – recognizing more quickly the error of my actions and working to not only stop them from continuing but to correct them in some small way.

When I returned home, the family visiting the people across the street (who had blocked my drive) were walking to their car. I walked up to an older woman in the group and held out the potted mum.

This is for you,” I said. ” I apologize for being angry earlier – that’s not who I am, and I am sorry.”

I don’t think she spoke English very well, but her eyes lit up and she accepted the flowers with a smile, saying Gracias! Gracias!

Yesterday is gone, and I have learned important lessons. Today I will do better, and be better. And tomorrow (hopefully) I will live up to the expectations I have set forth for myself. That’s all I can do.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

(As I scheduled this post, the Day 7 Healing post went live. I had set up the entire 30-days at the beginning, so each day’s post is a bit of a surprise for me too. Right on time, the message I most needed to hear showed up for me: it never fails.)

Day 7 (Healing)

Practitioner's Path
Healing
Prayer
Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself,…do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage. How are we to be patient in dealing with our neighbor’s faults if we are impatient in dealing with our own? They who are fretted by their own failings will not correct them. All profitable correction comes from a calm and peaceful mind.

~ Saint Francis de Sales

#30 Days of Healing

Taken from the book, “Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, & Meditations from Around the World

Day 6 (Healing)

Healers
Practitioner's Path
Reality
Let Reality govern my every thought, and Truth be the heart of my life.
For so it must be for all of humanity. Please help me to do “my part”.
And may the intensity of all our egos become the Joy of our One Soul.

~ Adapted from The Tibetan’s teachings in the Alice Bailey materials by Jacquelyn Small

#30 Days of Healing

Taken from the book, “Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, & Meditations from Around the World

A Child’s Evening Prayer

One of the earliest memories of my own religious education – some may say indoctrination – was the recitation of a prayer at bedtime. A common bedtime prayer for children in the 1960s when I was learning such things went something like this:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

As an adult I found the words a bit macabre for small children, and did not pass it on to the next generation.

In recent readings, I came across a different children’s prayer – one that is attributed to Nona Brooks, a founder of Divine Science (a metaphysical religious tradition from the 1800s). It reads in a much gentler manner and is much more appropriate for young children.

Now I lay me down to sleep; I know that God His child doth keep. I trust Him for my daily food, My life, my health, and all my good. May I grow stronger day by day, And learn to live the truest way. All this I ask because I know Thou art the Love that wills it so.

Nona Brooks

Described as a “prophet of modern mystical Christianity“, Brooks was a New Thought leader and a founder of the Church of Divine Science.

Since the language and pronouns used in the 1800s area a bit outdated, here’s how I might revise this for the 21st century:

Now I lay me down to sleep;
I know that I am in God’s keep.
Trusting God for daily food,
My life, my health; all my Good.
As I grow stronger day by day,
I learn to live the truest way.
All this I speak because I know,
God is the Love that wills it so.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path