I was frustrated.
I had just spent over two hours writing a blog post and I despised the whole thing.
So I gave out a little Jersey scream, and stormed out of my writing room.
I made my way down to the TV room and flopped on the recliner.
I was frustrated, exasperated and talking a mile a minute (I do that when I feel like something isn’t going the way it should) and proceeded to tell John all about how I had just written a blog post about patience and I hated the whole thing and I had to start again.
I neglected to notice the irony in what I was saying to him until he got a big smile on his face, started to chuckle and said, “So, what you’re saying is, you just lost your patience trying to write a post about patience?”
John is a master at pointing out the obvious when I’ve totally missed it and often times that is just what I need.
“Now we can exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble indeed, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14
The Bible praises patience.
Patience seems easy when life seems to be rolling along smoothly.
But patience can be so fleeting, especially when something or someone rubs us the wrong way, like a blog post that isn’t panning out.
Patience isn’t a strong point of mine but it is something I am working on because to truly trust the Lord and His magnificent plan for my life I must be patient.
2016 was a year of trials for John and me and while I certainly did not like those trials, or the trials still coming our way, they were and still are out of my control, so I must be patient.
Trust me when I say, this patience I am feeling right now is only because of the Lord and my faith in His plan. There is no way I would be this patient all on my own because, as mentioned above, I am not a patient person.
I believe that trials are the Lord’s way of “perfecting” our patience. And the good Lord knows I need all the “perfecting” of patience I can get.
There are mountains I want moved right now but that is not part of the Lord’s plan.
So I must be patient.
I believe one of the better examples of patience in the Bible is when James speaks to a group of believers that were experiencing tremendous difficulty and persecution.
“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:3-4
Again, these are believers James is speaking to and he is helping them to be patient, so a lack of patience is something that affects us believers just as much, sometimes more, as it affects nonbelievers.
As my Pastor would say, we are all human and we are all covered in the same thing… Flesh.
We all suffer from the same feelings of impatience, doubt, hurt and betrayal. It is how we deal with those feelings that defines us.
In this age of instant gratification, it is hard to be patient.
But we must; patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and asking the Lord to guide us is the only way any of us can achieve true patience.
Patience in Hebrew is “qavah” which means “to wait for, to look for, to hope or to expect.”
I’m pretty certain I lack “qavah”. Especially when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store and the woman in front of me is sorting through her two-inch coupon binder and this is my seventh errand of the day and I just want to get home, put my feet up and watch “Fixer Upper”.
The “old me” would let the whole store know how unhappy with the situation I am through my body language, eye rolls, and heavy sighs.
But I’m not the “old me” anymore and I’ve learned that even in those moments I need to have patience and that, at times, means saying a quick prayer.
I have found that stopping myself and whispering a quick prayer always brings me back to a calm state. It is amazing how reaching out to Him, even standing in line at the grocery store, can bring us so much peace.
Don’t get me wrong, the “old me” didn’t just up and leave as soon as I recommitted my life to Christ. No, sir. I still have eye rolling, crossed arms, heavy sighing moments but they are becoming less and less and I know how to handle them now. I know where to find that peace that I often need so desperately.
A calm, a peace, a patience that I am not humanly possible of finding on my own.
In James 5:7-11 he addresses problems we all face when a situation, big or small, overwhelms us. We are tempted to lose patience and perspective and quick to blame others.
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter train. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure, Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:7-11
Was I losing my patience with the woman sorting through her two-inch coupon binder? Yes.
Was I losing my perspective? Absolutely.
And was I blaming others? You better believe I was blaming that poor woman in front of me for messing up my afternoon and delaying my viewing of “Fixer Upper”.
Did any of that help me, the coupon woman, the cashier or any of the people in the store? No.
I certainly have other aspects of my life where I am having to practice patience that are far larger than my grocery store incident but I think my story is a good example for any situation that causes us to lose our patience.
Whether the situation is big or small we all lose our patience but how we handle it is what really matters.
So, next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you seems to be getting on your very last nerve, stop and ask the Lord to put His loving arms around you and grant you the patience that we all so desperately need.