The Fruit of Patience

This is an article that I wrote for the April 15 Sunday’s Comin’ eNews for Fellowship Reformed Church

This past Sunday Pastor Brian preached about patience. After hearing the sermon, I started thinking of all of the times where I have had to be patient: waiting for healing from sickness, waiting for results from a test, looking for a new job, waiting for a special day to arrive, standing in line, sitting in a car in stopped traffic on the highway, repeating instructions to one of my children, and trying to learn a difficult passage of music. Now, as I write these down, they seem so trivial. Maybe this is part of the gift of the sermon on Sunday. We are able to see that times requiring patience can also be times for us to learn, grow, and be in a posture of submission to the will of God.

I am currently learning patience as I train to run two Tulip Time races on May 2. The first race is 5K and the second is 10K. I have never run 15K in a single day in my entire life. In order to run that distance, I knew that I would have to find some way to train over a long period of time so my body would have the strength to get through. So, I found a training plan online and mapped out what would need to happen each week in order for me to attain the goal. This is so challenging for me because I want to be able to “Just do it” without putting in all this time and effort. Each training run requires me to push aside comfort in order to push my body a little further. What is so intriguing to me is to recognize that my ability to be patient is increased when I am able to look back and see where I have been as well as look forward to see where I will be. The combination of the two give me hope in the moment. My patience is decreased when I choose, instead, to become frustrated or upset.

As I continue in my training, I am learning to see each run as a gift rather than a difficulty. These gifts include celebrating increasing strength in my body, experiencing the warmth of the sun, seeing signs of spring, covering distances that used to seem insurmountable, and receiving encouragement from others. Might there be ways for you to look for the gifts in those times requiring patience? This week we are challenged to practice patience by doing one of the following:

  1. Patience with God: begin each day with a time of prayerful reflection, asking God, “What is Your will for me today?” Throughout the day, pray Jesus’ prayer of surrender: “Not my will but Your will be done.”
  2. Patience with others: choose the longer line at the grocery store. Drive in the slow lane. Welcome an interruption. Be slow to speak and quick to listen in a conversation. Give somebody a second chance. Identify a relationship that is training ground for learning patience.
  3. Patience with yourself: Recognize the “shame voices” and remind yourself of God’s grace and love. Remember that transformation is not instant; it is a process, a journey. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Give one of them a try and remember:

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Bear with on another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other…” (Col 3:12-13)