Patience…the ‘Holy Grail’

11 06 2012

The fruit of patience

I have always prided myself as a patient person.  When asked what some of my strengths are as a person, I almost always think of patience first.  I’m more of a laid-back individual, and for the most part am able to ‘go with the flow.’

Yet two things have made me realize that I’m not as patient of a person as I think I am and that I am a part of a society and culture that needs immediate gratification, immediate results, and immediate fulfillment.  This is what we have become isn’t it?  With social media, 24 hour news, fast food, among thousands of other conveniences that we have been given, immediate results and response to our questions and needs are expected…demanded really because if our needs are not met in a timely fashion then, well…just think about the last time that your patience ran out when your food took too long, or you didn’t get the news that you wanted at the soonest possible time, or you had to wait in the doctor’s office for an hour and a half or two.

The two things that have brought me back to the reality that I really don’t have much patience?  The first one was about two years ago before Jessica and I started sleep training Aidan.  Trying to get him to sleep every night for the four months leading up to the epiphany that we only had to leave him alone and let him cry was the longest four months of our lives.

The second one is currently trying my patience, and I’m battling within myself to control this one.  It’s this garden that we just planted.  I tell you, we planted that garden on a Monday and I was out there Monday night, Tuesday morning, Tuesday night looking for growth, looking for produce, looking for product, proof of our work.  I wanted results. I wanted the fruit of our labor. I wanted immediate satisfaction!  Those of you who have gardened for a while are probably laughing and I am too.  I know it’s silly.  I know I need to wait.  I know I need patience.

Our faith can be much the same way too.  We want results.  We want God to speak to us directly.  If we could only just know what God wants us to do!  We pray and we want an immediate answer.  On a rare few occasions that answer might come right away, but most of the time it isn’t until years later that you look back and realize that God was there all along, leading, loving, answering your prayers.

I always used to criticize Paul for being too impatient.  He expected Jesus to come again right away.  He encouraged people to prepare and be ready because Jesus was coming soon and very soon!  Paul was the first, but he wasn’t the last.  Many people and ‘prophets’ throughout the history of the church have believed that Jesus was coming during their time.  All the signs are there: the violence, the natural disasters, the world powers.  And so we think we can read into the future, when Jesus himself said that he doesn’t even know the time when he will come again.  Patience sisters and brothers, patience.

And yet, I think Paul is on to something.  Paul might be impatient for Jesus to arrive again and frankly who wouldn’t be?  That would mean the Kingdom has finally fully come.  But Paul encourages us to be ready, to be prepared, to live today in Christ for the Kingdom!  This is good advice no matter when Jesus might come.  If we are too busy being impatient for things in life, we miss out on the moments that we are able to live right now.  We miss the opportunities that we have to live in the Kingdom here and now!  Sitting in the doctor’s office for an hour and a half might give you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone else there and build a new relationship or nurture one that already exists.  If our food is a little late getting out, so what?!  Take the time to talk to someone, or silently reflect on your day, or pray.  While I’m busy worried about our garden producing, I’m missing the opportunity to reflect on the process, to enjoy being in God’s creation, to revel in the fact that God allows me to be a part of this creation.

Sisters and brothers, enjoy the moment.  Live fully now for that is what Christ has freed us for.  Not to worry about the future.  Not to complain and want more.  But to live life fully, freed from those wants and fears so that we can live for God, for relationship, for each other.

What are some tricks/practices that you use to prolong your patience?

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