Ish. With most things.
Well, many things.
My wife just laughs when I say this. She has seen me when the computer doesn’t behave, or when the recorded voice on the end of the phone instructs me to press 1, then 7, then enter the third and fourth digits of my pin number, please hold and all but provide a blood sample only to be told all their operators are currently busy, please try again later!
I was crossing the road the other morning and ok I confess I hadn’t waited for the green light at the crossing. Caught up in the traffic, I heard an accusing voice sneer somewhere inside of me, ‘Where’s your patience now?’ Right on its tail came a snippet of scripture as if to counter –
‘Love is patient…’
Patience is part of something much deeper than just waiting for WiFi or the car in front to move.
This scripture comes in a famous passage 1 Corinthians 13, often quoted at weddings, in which the 1st century Apostle Paul pleads with a gifted but divided congregation to practise ‘the most excellent way’ of love. What good are talent and success if our relationships are in shreds? He goes on to list a number of things love is, and isn’t, and first on his list is patient.
It’s so true. For a marriage or any long term friendship/partnership/community to flourish and last we must be patient with each other. (My wife could tell you!)
So love is more than passion, it’s waiting with kindness for the ones we love without ever giving up. And patience is much more than unlimited tolerance with systems and machines, it’s loving and forgiving the brothers and sisters who sin against us.
We have an example in this, the Lord Himself.
In the Old Testament God delays as long as possible, giving His beloved people every last chance to turn from their beloved idols before letting the holy discipline they’ve been asking for to come upon them.
On occasions in the Gospels we sense Jesus was disappointed, frustrated with His disciples’ slowness to learn and yet He continued to pray faithfully for them, and at the Last Supper lovingly shared His bread with them and even washed their feet!
Having just celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost we have a timely reminder that one of the ‘fruits’ of being influenced by the Spirit of the Lord is patience! (Galatians 5v22)
In our impatience with some of the hideous atrocities around us we sometimes ask, ‘Why does God allow such things?’, and the answer is His patience.
Peter writes this in his second New Testament letter:
‘The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’
We may get irritated by little things but patience in the big things is what matters. Realising that our Maker and Heavenly Father is amazingly patient with us because He loves us deeply should make us all the more patient with one another and more thankful in life.
Thankful not least for Christ the Saviour, in Whom our repentance and faith blossom into the best life possible, now and ever.