“Love is patient, love is kind” – 1 Corinthians 13:4
These words are so familiar to us, and yet, at least for me, so far out of reach. Patience is the next Fruit of the Spirit, and if you talked to me a week ago, I’d say that I was the worst person to end up with it. I am not good at patience. I have three young children, so I spend a lot of time hurrying people along or getting irritated by them. Obviously I love them. And love is patient, right? So what am I doing wrong?
I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t pray for patience. God gives it to you through trials. And maybe I’ve made the mistake of doing it anyway. But James says, “My brethren, 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.” (verses 2-4 NKJV). Trials are good because God uses those trials. Avoiding them would not help us develop into the Jesus followers we’re meant to be.
So maybe patience is about being at peace with God’s timing. The timing does not change to accommodate us or our desires. Nor should it. I have to remind myself that I am not the smart one in this relationship. I don’t have the answers. I need to leave all the scheduling of life events to the One in charge of the whole calendar. All the calendars. This is much easier to write than to live but knowing it is a good start.
As I started writing today, I was sitting with my son at a doctor’s appointment I’d been waiting months to get. This is an early step of what will probably be a long road, and it took months to make this one tiny step. It’s frustrating. I want to know why things can’t move more quickly. No one seems to think this is as important as I do. But I’m waiting “patiently” and working on this blog post when 2 Peter 3:8-9 slaps me in the face.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends; With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
The Lord is in our struggles, not matter how big or small. As much as we have to be patient with our kids/spouse/friends/coworkers, we have to be patient with God too. We know all things work together for good. It doesn’t say all the good things or all the easy things. All the things. What if we’re so busy trying to speed our situations along that we miss the blessing?
My prayer for you, sweet ladies, and myself, is that we receive this fruit of the spirit. I can’t promise it will be easy, because God doesn’t promise that. But I can promise it will be worth it.