Patience

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By the time most of us reach adulthood, we’ve probably spent numerous hours in waiting rooms. Waiting room. Now there’s an appropriate name, right? And who waits in waiting rooms? Patients! Even though it’s spelled differently, that’s a pretty appropriate word. Most of us like to know how our time is going to be spent. If something is supposed to take an hour, we can get a little irritated when the hour comes and goes. What about lines? Whether you’re standing in line at the grocery store, or stuck in the middle of hundreds of cars on a freeway, waiting can be a challenge to our cheery nature.

Patience is one of those virtues God instructs us to develop in our walk with him. In 1st Corinthians 13 patience is mentioned in a description of love: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, … Romans 12:12 says further: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Certainly the pandemic we find ourselves in the middle of has strained our patience. “I can’t wait” seems to be a constant theme in our discussions. People say things like, “I can’t wait until I don’t have to wear this mask,” I can’t wait until everything is back to normal,” and “I can’t wait for all this to be over.” No matter what the issue is in our lives, there’s no doubt patience will continue to be a lesson we have to brush up on. If you’re like me, while you’re busy relearning it, one of the people you’ll have to be most patient with is yourself.

God, thank you for being patient with me,
one of your many works in progress.
Help me replace my impatience
with prayers you’ve yet to answer
with gratitude for those you have.

©Joel Tipple 7/12/2020

Waiting

Today I found household chores to do inside, mostly because I was waiting for an important phone call. It was important enough that I was thinking about it when I went to bed last night, thinking about it when I got up this morning, and still thinking about it throughout the day as I willed the phone to ring. I suppose you could call the whole experience an exercise in patience. Now that’s an interesting phrase, “exercise in patience.” When I think of the word exercise, I consider military exercises, or the kind of exercise you might get during a work out. Any way you slice it, exercise represents effort. Think of all the patience learning exercises you get during a typical day: waiting in line, waiting at the stop light, waiting for your order to arrive, waiting for the microwave… all those seconds ticking away. Sometimes we take these lessons well, sometimes we take them very, very, badly. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like learning the same lessons over and over. I like to think I’m progressing. When I get to heaven I’ll say to God, “Wow Lord, can you believe I learned all those lessons you were trying to teach to me? It took some doing, but look at me now! Well, all we can do is try. So, the phone didn’t ring, but I did get some chores done, had some tea, played a few games on the computer and my phone, and wrote this. Oh yeah, I also remembered to thank God for being patient with me.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9