Patience, by Pastor Geoff
Patience is a virtue.
One that doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m guessing I’m not alone in that.
Like all virtues, patience is something that is learned, over time and with practice.
It’s a bit like learning to play the piano. You start with the basics. Scales. You practice and you practice until playing those scales becomes automatic. With time, you no longer have to think about it. Your fingers just know what to do.
Virtue is the same.
James Smith says that when we learn virtue we are “inscribing something into the very fiber of our being.”
So, how do we inscribe patience into the very fiber of our being? How do we practice patience like we practice piano so that it becomes automatic?
Well, if your life has looked anything like mine, you’ve probably been given ample opportunity to practice.
Maybe you have someone in your life who has the uncanny ability to get on your very last nerve.
Maybe you’ve been waiting what seems like an eternity for that right someone to come along.
Maybe you’ve waited nine excruciating months for your precious child to enter this world, only to realize that your opportunities to practice patience have just multiplied exponentially.
As I look back over my life, I can’t help but see that God has given me ample opportunity to practice patience.
The thing is patience isn’t simply the natural byproduct of waiting. Waiting can take many forms. We can wait passively. We can wait angrily. We can wait in resignation.
To wait patiently takes work. It requires a particular posture, one that isn’t passive or angry or resigned but active, trusting and expectant.
The psalmist says:
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
In life East of Eden, the people of God are always waiting on the Lord.
Noah waited for the waters to recede.
Abraham and Sarah waited for a son.
Israel waited for rescue from Egypt, to enter the promised land, to return from exile and for the coming of the Messiah.
And since that coming, the Church has waited for Christ’s return, for the day when all things will be made new and God will dwell among us.
We are a people constantly waiting on the Lord.
But our waiting is distinct. Because our waiting is patient. It is active and trusting and expectant.
And then, my prayer for all of us during this season is that this would be true of us. That we would take the opportunity afforded to us by these uniquely challenging circumstances to practice patience…to practice waiting that is active and trusting and expectant.
Active in our care for one another and for the most vulnerable among us.
Trusting in God’s care for us and those we love.
And so very expectant. Because, after all, we are still in the season of Lent. This season in which we wait, like watchmen wait for the morning, for Easter, for resurrection, for new life.
1.) What are some of the circumstances in your life that God has used to teach you patience?
2.) What about the situation we’re living through is trying your patience?
3.) What are some ways you can wait out this season in ways that are active, trusting and expectant?