Reflection on Patience
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…”1
Woah, wait a minute, God. Let’s talk about something right now. Yes, I do want to be numbered among your ‘elect’. I like the idea of you considering me holy and beloved! I’ve been trying hard to be merciful and you know that I’ve been working on my kindness and humility. Meekness…now that’s another story. But longsuffering? I just looked that word up and it’s defined as an extreme form of patience. I don’t know about you, Lord, but I’m just not that strong in the patience category. There are so many annoying things (and people!) going on my life right now. Can’t I just ignore them and move on?
“For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise…”2
I’m assuming that by “endurance” you mean “patience”. You know, now that you mention it, doing your work certainly requires a lot of patience. I mean, look at all the church drama I’m constantly juggling! Speaking of which, any suggestions on how I’m supposed to deal with everyone in my youth group? Sometimes they can be so stubborn (or lazy)!
“[I ask] that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, with all lowliness, meekness, with longsuffering, forebearing one another in love…”3
There it is again – longsuffering! I know that by the time Sabbath afternoon rolls around, I feel as if I’ve suffered a great deal. But, really, Lord, there’s something else that’s been on my mind. I guess I’m not really keen on being patient with people or situations that I don’t feel are worth my time. I mean, if someone doesn’t want to get with the program, that’s their problem! However, I have a strong feeling that you wouldn’t want me to harbor those feelings. I know, I know, as a Christian – one who bears your Son’s name – I should be emulating your every move. How would you describe your threshold for patience? A few hours? A couple days? Until you just have to move on to the next step, with or without us?
“[I am] The Lord, The Lord, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.”4
Right. I should have known. Ok, but here’s where I’m stuck – you’re God. GOD. Of course you’re longsuffering and all that! You’re perfect! Surely you don’t expect me to be able to live up to your track record!
“[I], the God of patience and consolation, grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify [Me]…”5
I keep forgetting that point – that I’m supposed to be keeping my eyes on Jesus and that He’s the only one that can help me achieve these things. It’s just so hard, Lord, to keep an even keel and show the kind of patience to others that you show me. The easy option is to just blow up or give up. Sometimes I think that I expect too much of others, but not enough of myself. Every time I try to do something that I think is right, I’m just swallowed up by the noise and the…well, there’s no better way to say it – the trials. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but you know how it is.
“…Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”6
Once again, I had a feeling that all this was to show me something – to somehow mold my character. I just can’t remember that when I’m in the midst of a fire-fight! You’ve told me time and time again, that if there aren’t trials in my life, then there’s something wrong. Well, I’m going to work on this patience thing, but you’re going to have to help me out big time. My fuse is kind of short… Well, I guess you know that already…
“Be confident of this very thing, that [I] who have begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”7
Awesome. Let’s get started then, shall we?