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“Don’t try my patience! I already tried it and it doesn’t work!”
Have you ever felt that way?
We all get frustrated, bothered or irritable from time to time. We all struggle with impatience!
Those feelings that happen when you come around the corner at Costco to check out and you see that every register is open and the lines are backed up into the aisles.
Or the fun experience of waiting on the phone for the next “customer service representative” to help you. You have so much to do. The clock is ticking. You just need to get this done and over. But there you are, waiting….waiting….and waiting – and your patience is running out.
Or your young child disobeys again and again.
Or the driver in front of you isn’t in ANY hurry.
Or your spouse continues to frustrate you at so many levels.
The list is endless, but all require patience!
I recall the story of a teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his boots. He asked for help and she could see why. With her pulling and him pushing, the boots still didn't want to go on.
By the time the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost whimpered when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet." She looked and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on — this time on the right feet.
He then announced, "These aren't my boots." She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, "Why didn't you say so?" like she wanted to. Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off.
He then said, "They're my brother's boots. My mom made me wear them." She didn't know if she should laugh or cry. She mustered up the grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. She said, "Now, where are your mittens?"
He said, "I stuffed them in the toes of my boots..."
That story makes us smile, but it’s all too true when life doesn’t smoothly go the way we want it to go and we lose our patience!
The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:1–3 to “...walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." In Colossians 3:12, we are commanded to “put on” the virtues of “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
Several years ago when my children were growing up, my oldest daughter loved to go horseback riding every year for her birthday. I’m not a cowgirl at all, but there I was, going horseback riding because I love my kids. I mentioned to the stable owner that I was fearful of the prospect of sitting on a horse, so they got me the slowest and oldest horse they had. Fine with me. I was kind of disappointed that my horse didn’t come with a literal steering wheel and brake pedal. Simply holding onto the reins seemed a little out of control. Several of us began the process of walking single file out into the desert. I was at the end of the line, minding my own business. I told the horse, “I’ll leave you alone if you don’t give me any problems.” I felt this was the best way to handle the brute beast I was sitting on. It worked! Kind of. About halfway through the ride, he stopped and slowly started to turn around away from the rest of the group. I began to chat with him very quickly about the benefits of not doing that and I encouraged him to continue with the rest of the horses. “Nay, nay,” he said. Begging and pleading may have been a part of my end of the conversation at that point, which only encouraged his delinquent behavior.
My Hi-Ho Silver horse decided he was done. No more walking for him! It’s as though he said, “I’m doing things my way. Right now!” I found myself galloping alone down Central Ave towards his stable (and dinner) at a speed that Annie Oakley would have been proud of! We came back to the stable coral and he stopped on a dime in front of the fence. I thought I was going to go flying over it! I persevered and held on for dear life.
What happened? That horse lost its patience with me!!
Ever felt that way? When was the last time you lost your cool and wanted to take control of the situation and gallop in the direction you felt was best? Or you told yourself that you helped get someone’s “boots” on and off for the very last time. Done! Our patience is tested by people — stubborn, irritating, or rude people. Paul knows these situations can happen and he gives us this advice: “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). No matter what the circumstance, we are told to reach deep inside ourselves and show patience with them all.
If you and I were asked to name an example of patience in the Bible, Job would be our guy. I don’t believe he sat down one day and made up his mind to be a patient person. He wrestled with his suffering, didn’t he? But through it all he still trusted God. He didn’t bargain with God, like Solomon asking God for wisdom. He didn’t say “God give me patience.” The word patience doesn’t even appear in the entire book of Job. And yet, in James 5:11 it says, “Behold, we call them blessed that endured: you have heard of the patience of Job...”
How did Job become a patient person? Job, in obedience to God, rested and endured under
That explains why Paul says that trials and tribulations bring about patience and perseverance within us. Romans 5:3–4 says, “We also have joy with our troubles
Here are 5 simple things to remember as you put on patience in this new year of 2018:
Pray, submit, rest, and trust. Patience will take its place in your life as God grows you in spiritual maturity.