Have you ever waited for your children to climb into the car, get into their seats, and put on their seat belts? It’s a simple task, one that adults do automatically and without much thought. However, it’s a laborious, drawn-out process for a child, wrought with distractions and bickering over who gets what seat, all while the seat belts are forgotten. I believe there is no more robust test of patience than this!!! I don’t think I truly knew the meaning of patience until I had kids!
I think patience is one of the most remarkable fruits of the spirit because it’s one of the most challenging qualities to master. I work on it every day with varying degrees of success. Just ask my wife and kids!
Patience is under attack daily. Waiting in long lines at the store, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or waiting on hold for a technical assistant to help you from somewhere clear across the globe is enough to drive anyone batty. And while we’ve all heard the adage that “Patience is a virtue,” it’s hardly realistic when trying to get three kids to bed after a long day of work. Can I get an “Amen?!”
So why is patience so hard to master. Well, let’s first understand what patience is. Webster’s Dictionary defines patience as being: “able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or dealing with problems or difficult people.”
Now let’s put that definition into context.
Jesus was patience defined. On Christianity Today’s website, the author James S. Spiegel explains it this way, “Jesus was very patient with his disciples. They were sometimes thickheaded, lazy, selfish, and slow to believe. Even from a merely human standpoint, we can see how frustrating they must have been. How much more irritating it would be for God Incarnate to interact daily with these men.” Despite Jesus’ miracles and words of wisdom, they were focused upon themselves and constantly wavered in their belief. Yet, did Jesus rail at his disciples over their foolishness or ignorance? Did he make fun of them when they made mistakes?”
He admonished them, but He never once threw in the towel and said, “Nevermind, these dim-witted humans are not worth saving!!!” Instead, he patiently taught them and waited for them to finally get it. He plodded on, lesson after lesson, parable after parable, and miracle after miracle, and he waited for it to eventually sink in. What’s truly amazing is that He’s waiting, patiently, for it to sink in for you and me too. After an incredibly difficult and trying day, I find that particularly remarkable.