Pneumonia, predestination, perseverance and pumpernickel bread were a few suggestions I got from my friends (and I hope readers). 😉
I went with Patience for the reason that so many of us both desire it and despise it. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage: “Don’t pray for patience because then God will give you opportunities to be patient!”
One of the reasons we dislike patience is that it seems to imply wasted time and our culture has equated stillness with boredom and by all means avoid boredom!!
If you have ever had the opportunity to go to Disney World, you have experienced, even with fastpasses, the need to stand in a forever long line and wait… and wait, and wait. This is what patience looks like to us; it is the afternoon rush hour where we grip the steering wheel tighter with every passing second we don’t move, it’s the twiddling of our thumbs at a doctor’s office when our phone is dead with 10 people ahead of us. Patience is most often synonymous with boredom, agitation, frustration, or inactivity.
So when we think of patience as a fruit of the spirit, in our minds it’s more like an old shriveled grape and not a juicy strawberry. What I propose is that patience is actually one of the sweetest fruits, but we don’t know how to eat it. It’s like giving a toddler an orange or banana without peeling the skin, it’s bitter, or lacking in flavor.
- Patience kills pride and grows trust.
God will most often work in us long before he works through us. The more time we spend on social media, the more we expect life to be a continuous highlight reel. When our own lives seem boring, we immerse ourselves in the experiences of others. Or we seek to show off just how much we are doing by constantly creating our own “highlight reels” to display to others. All of this is rooted in pride, because it points to us. How do I feel? What do I want? How do others perceive me? And inevitably, if I don’t like my responses, I look for ways to change it myself.
Focusing inwardly will only ever bring the unease and unrest of our hearts to the forefront of our minds.
Instead of prideful self-consciousness, we should trust that every experience, every moment of waiting, is a moment that we can choose to trust the Lord in.
When we realize life is not all about us and start to care for others, do the next right thing, and wait on the Lord, the greatest peace and joy will fill our hearts and be evident in our lives.
- Patience is a powerful testimony to those around you.
Do you remember the little girl in Willy Wonka? The brat, Veruca? She sings an entire song expressly opposed to patience. Remember what she sang? “I want it… now!” We often are just like her, though we may not express it as clearly. Do you look at your phone when someone is having a conversation with you? Have you ignored someone clearly having a rough day just because you don’t “have the time” to sit with them for a few minutes? Have you kept earbuds in your ears to avoid intrusions into “your” time? Or complained about or yelled at someone slowing you down?
What if instead, you realized that time is indeed precious, but that it’s not meant to be spent only on yourself? Taking time to invest in those around you, taking time to call a family member or friend, to spend a minute or two in prayer while waiting at a stop light, to let others get in front of you in a coffee shop line.
This counter-cultural kindness would honor the Lord and exhibit a manner of patience so foreign to many Veruca’s in the world.
- Patience is a fruit of the Spirit.
When I first wrote this post, I showed it to my wife to get her opinion. What happened to that original post? I have no idea, in fact what you are reading now is very very different than what I had originally written. As she looked at it, the post disappeared! Immediately I asked what happened!? And before I got frustrated and started blaming her, I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. Just as I had finished writing on patience, I was immediately given an opportunity to be patient.
But to be honest and candid, I really struggle here! Often, my first response is frustration when the light is green for 2 seconds and the person in front of me hasn’t moved, when I am running late for work or for class, when I have somewhere to be and someone wants to talk or ask a question. The remarkable thing about patience is that, since it is a fruit of the Spirit, it is something that God himself grows in us.
While we should certainly exert effort to be more patient, the more we look to Jesus and seek Him through obedience, fellowship, and worship with Him, the more we begin to see these fruits evident in our lives.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Truly, impatience is only every rooted in pride and patience is rooted in trust. If we want to live our lives to the fullest, we will be patient and do the next right thing. It is not always easy, it is usually uncomfortable, but if you know Christ, you are indeed waiting on something…
The end you are waiting for is glorious reunion the friends and family members who have gone to heaven before you, the end of pain, trouble, and sorrow and above all of that, being able to stand before God Himself. This is something worth being patient for, this is something worth sharing with everyone you meet, and in any situation we can say, “Lord, I will wait on you.”
“Patience is the inseparable companion of faith.” – John Calvin
“The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.”