I’ve been commended for showing patience because I haven’t yelled at my children after 5 minutes of aggravation. I have shown patience when waiting in line and I let the guy in front of me go first. Some days, I even feel patient – the days I start out with prayer. Don’t ask about the other days.
But really, is that very impressive?
I just finished reading Gospel for Asia’s quarterly report. What struck me the most this time was how patient people were. Missionaries travel hours by car, walk hours or even days and finally reach their destination just to turn around and keep going. A family has a demon possessed daughter so the missionaries and workers pray and fast for her…for 3 days. Three days…until she is healed and delivered. Now, not many Christians here in NA pray for release from demonic oppression, but if they did…would they keep going, without food, until the person was free? I confess that I probably wouldn’t.
I think that Westerners in general have a very limited view of what patience really means. We think we’re something special if we don’t lose our tempers at the drop of a hat….or two or three hats. We think we’re showing real character if we’re willing to give up our place in line…once. We forbear to report our neighbors’ dog barking…for two days until the third day “tears it” (as we are $25 poorer to discover). Is this patience???
I know that Nathan and I have rarely been patient while waiting the last year for our house to sell. And it’s still not sold. I am quite sure that God has been trying to teach us many lessons, one of which has been patience (trust, love, more trust, the list keeps going). I wish I could say that we’ve learned many lessons. . .but I’m starting to get a glimmering of what He means when he says patience. Why are we always so dull? Why does it take a sledgehammer to pound in simple truths? Jesus must be perfectly patient.
“Love is patient, love is kind….”