My friend, Suzanne, who has know her share of trials and adversity, calls patience the "p" word because it sometimes seems difficult to not sweat the small stuff and to wait patiently on the Lord when life is difficult. Suzanne had undergone numerous surgeries and faces the challenges of poverty and loneliness with grace, yet some days she admits that she is too critical of herself and others. Although some are naturally patient--like my granddaught Chloe, who is amazingly patient for a two-year old, patience is a quality that each of us can develop more fully and is worth the effort.
St. Teresa of Avila, one of my favorite sages, said,
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things pass away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
Patience comes when we allow God to become our strength, our hope, and our peace, even during times of suffering. Although trusting in God doesn't always come easily, when we do, it makes our life easy. I have learned that when we rely on Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
So how do we increase in patience?
Before you speak or act in a negative manner, breathe deeply and ask yourself, "Does this promote peace? Is this a loving thing to say or do?" Sometimes, the most loving thing we can say is, "No. I wish I could but I can't right now." We cannot be everything to everyone and promote patience.
Focus on God's perfect love for you. Focus of the fact that each one of us is a child of God. Picture Him as a loving Shepherd who is nourishing you, leading you beside still waters, and healing you. Picture His loving expression as He holds you in His arms. Remember that He carries you every moment of your life, not just when times are difficult, but every moment of every day.
Give your problems, concerns and worries to God in prayer, trusting that He will carry your burdens and bind up your broken heart. Believe that God loves you more that you can even imagine and that He waits to help you face life's challenges. He longs for you to ask for His help. He stands at the door, waiting for you to knock.
Paul taught, "Be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good for each other and for all" (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, NAB). In Galatians, patience is listed as one of the "fruit of the Spirit": "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law". (Galatians 5:21-23, NIV). In Timothy, the Bible states that "Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life".(1 Timothy 1:15-17, NIV).
May we follow the Savior's example, who forgave His enemies, served those who were forgotten or rejected, and who loved others perfectly. May we enjoy the peace of His patience.
© Carol Brown