Monday, December 8, 2014

Patience

Today’s fruit is Patience.

I used to be a good little patient person. Or maybe I was just really good at stuffing frustrated feelings so far deep that I seemed like the most forbearing of folks. But really I wasn’t.  

Though Wikipedia gets it right sometimes, to say that patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset” is as defeating as it is incorrect.

I don’t think patience is emotionless.

And I’m not just saying that to justify my frustration over the past few months in an area requiring more patience than normal. A situation that has led to much weeping and gnashing of teeth. It’s led to punching pillows and throwing pillows and once I threw my car keys across the room (I started to throw my lamp, but a brief moment of practicality changed that action quickly).

No, I think Dictionary.com does a little better with the definition. It defines patience as “steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.”

Perseverance is listed in James as a quality that comes out of suffering. But I don’t think we just learn to Persevere, like stoic faced martyrs of old who learned to suck it up or grin and bear it.

I think patience is seeing the big picture. It’s seeing the Hand that’s working, even if we can’t see the work. It’s a fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit living within you, not one of those things that will come from reading enough scripture or drinking enough patience juice.

The need for patience is a gentle prod to look to the One who supplies it. We can’t get patience by ourselves, at least not the persevering kind. At least not the kind that lasts. We can’t get it without a relationship with a Jesus who wept in the garden and cried out to His Heavenly Father, asking for another way.

We are allowed to ask God for another way. We can be like David, who fasted and prayed and groaned and wept and begged the Lord to spare his son. But on the day God said, “No, this is the way I’ve chosen,” David got up off the ground, took a shower, and said, “Okay.”

That’s patience. It’s the ability to say, “Okay” in response to the answer that says, “Wait, just wait.”

But sometimes “Okay” is said with tears of frustration. But it’s so much better to have those tears in the company of the Safe One who loves you than to put those tears in a box, hiding them and nursing them in the darkness, away from His presence.

Because not only is He powerful and dangerous. He’s also safe and comforting. 

And He already knows.


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