Patience my ass, I want to kill something…
In my more bohemian days, that was something I think I said quite often. Then, my patience was very short – nonexistent, much of the time. Later, I was talking with a pastor and he said something quite profound to me. He said not to pray for patience, because when we do, GOD will provide us with plenty of opportunities to learn it. I realized I’d been going about it all wrong. Instead of praying for patience, I began to pray for strength and perseverance, and make it a point to ask GOD to please don’t send me any more ‘opportunities’ to learn patience! Even the great leaders in the Bible, Old and New Testament, felt persecuted and in desperate need of patience. Look at David. Both before he was king and after he became king, David needed patience. I love how his poetry shows his reach for the LORD, and how the LORD sustains him with willingness to wait in GOD’S Strength – patiently waiting….
“I love You, LORD, my Strength. The LORD is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; my GOD is my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold. You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my GOD turns my darkness into Light. As for GOD, His Way is perfect: The LORD’S Word is flawless; He Shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is GOD besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our GOD? The LORD Lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be GOD my Savior!” – Psalm 18:1-2, 28, 30-31, 46 NIV
If you do a word search for the words ‘patient’ and ‘patience’ in the Bible, you will find many references. James, especially, spent a lot of time talking about it. He only has 5 chapters, but check out how he begins:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds….. ” – James 1:2 NIV
Really? Pure joy for an abusive relationship? Pure joy for financial difficulties? Pure joy for losing a loved one? Patiently waiting my a**. No, I am so far from being patient, it can’t even be measured. The thing I hold on to is GOD’S Patience. Without Him, I am incapable of doing or saying anything good. I cannot fathom patience without His Hand guiding and holding me, and by Him carrying me when I simply cannot go on. The LORD is the epitomy of this scripture:
“LOVE is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….” – 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7a NIV
Thank You, LORD, for never giving up on me, for being patient with me, and for perservering with me. AMEN.