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Patience

17th June, 2005 - Article Copyrighted Debbie Porter


"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
~ Romans 12:12 NIV ~


Do you remember those carefree childhood days when you thought you were just going to burst if Christmas didn't come soon? Or those times when you were certain that the endless days would never pass until your next birthday? I know I certainly do.

Patience and childhood rarely go hand in hand, which probably has something to do with the fact that children generally tend to believe that they are the center of the Universe. An infant knows very little, but it does know what it wants and that it wanted what it wants five seconds before it knew it wanted it. Long-suffering and patience are not part of their programming.

This “I am everything” attitude gradually dissipates as the years go by, and in its place comes the realization that no-one has ever exploded from waiting for a good thing to arrive. As hard a lesson as it may be to grasp, somewhere along the way we do learn to be patient – at least to some extent.

Life does teach us the necessity of patience, but the Holy Spirit reveals its value and virtue. Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit and because of that, it is ours to possess if we are living each day in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26).

The woman I am now, in my mid-40’s, is vastly different to the child I once was – although I suspect the woman I am yet to be will know many things that would benefit the woman I am now.

Fairly recently I realized that I very rarely find myself waiting impatiently for something good to happen. The days of saying, “I can’t wait,” are long behind me and the wisdom of my grandmother has finally filtered down into my understanding; the wisdom that says, “Don’t be in such a hurry to wish your life away.” Now I wait quite happily, taking each day as it comes and enjoying the good things when they finally arrive.

Maturity has also helped me to be patient with others … or perhaps that has more to do with motherhood. Nothing makes or breaks our patience faster than the unpredictability, moods and behavior of our offspring.

Although I do still occasionally “flip out” when one too many buttons is pushed, for the most part I am able to ride a wave of gentleness, understanding and encouragement when people don’t quite meet the expectations I’ve set.

So with age I’ve learnt to be sincerely patient with the people who are connected to my life, and also to be patient when waiting for those special moments and events to arrive.

But (and there had to be a “but”), the same isn’t always true when it comes to the trials of life. Being patient because we know that something good is on its way, or because we care about people, is one thing. Being patient when everything is crashing down around us and our prayers seem to be bouncing off a brass heaven, is another thing altogether.

Yet, as the Apostle Paul encouraged, that is exactly what we have to do – we have to hold onto the promise of God’s plans for the future, be patient when everything seems to be going wrong, and, in the midst of all these problems, never forget to pray.

Unfortunately, all too often we lose sight of our hope, become frantic that God will never come to the rescue, and generally fall apart at the seams (instead of hemming our day in with prayer).

Patience is something that grows as we grow – if we allow it the room to do so. It comes as we appreciate the gift of each new day, understand the incredible value of every soul, and most importantly, learn to trust a loving God with a lifetime of todays and an eternity of tomorrows.

Something to Think About ...

God has a way of getting our attention and making a point – in fact, He did it just two seconds ago, and although I was left smiling, I also got the message that as far as patience is concerned, I have a little way to go until I’ve got it all together (maybe when I’m 80).

It happened while I was looking for a suitable clip art image for this Breather. I went to my usual source, entered “impatience” as a keyword and then clicked “search.” Then I waited … and waited … and waited … as the page of results was loading.

It was taking so long that I decided to flip away and check something else very quickly. On arriving back at the clip art site, I found the page still loading. So I headed off to check my e-mail.

No new messages, so I zipped back to see how my search was going – you guessed it; the page was still loading.

Without even thinking, the words popped out of my mouth – “Oh COME ON!”

Oops!

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, as we’ve already discussed – but it’s also a fruit that takes a little time to ripen. We often don’t realize how “green” we still are until something or someone comes along and takes a “bite.”

A Gentle Breeze From the Heart ...

I know I am a work in progress
And my fruit is sometimes green,
I know the Spirit and the Son-shine
Are at work behind the scenes.

I know that it takes time to grow
A fruit that tastes so sweet,
But Lord, I want it now you see
To make my life complete.

Ah yes, but then I realize
There’s still a way to go
For patience has a part to play
In growing fruit I know.

And so I’ll wait and let my days
Unfold as You direct,
Trusting You completely for
Your plans are all perfect.

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