GROWING IN THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

GROWING IN: PATIENCE

LIBBI GRAMBY

I often jokingly say I believe that I'm going to get into heaven based solely on what I don't say.  The sheer amount of times in a week that I bite my tongue has to add up to something right? Now if I could just get my face to cooperate, but no one's perfect.  It's hard!!  It's hard to hold your tongue, to take a breath, to be patient with people.  It's also hard to be patient with ourselves and with God.  

 

When patience is talked about in the Bible, I don't think it's referring to our daily annoyances with the people in our lives and at Walmart.  Those may be struggles of first world proportions but not of biblical proportions.  Patience in the Bible is described as endurance, steadfastness, long-suffering and waiting for God.  The patience of Job, of Joseph, and of Abraham and Sarah.  It’s more than an “I’ve had it up to here” moment; it’s big picture faith.

 

I read an article that said,  “If atheism is just another way of saying, ‘I will no longer wait for God,’ then the opposite is also true.  Faith is just another way of saying ‘I will wait for God.’ If Atheism is impatience, faith is patience.”  

 

Faith is patience…that’s huge!  That means every time we say, “You just have to have faith,” we are saying, “Be patient with God.”  Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

 

So I guess the question is, “What is your capacity?”  I've recently had some hard lessons in patience and my capacity is being tested everyday.  I feel like I'm a glass filled to the rim and each day another drop or 5 is added.  I've had to make some hard choices, pouring a little out to make room for more as I've waited for God to use our situation for good.  Never in my life have I been more afraid and angry, but never in my life have I felt more confident in waiting for God and walking in His timing.

 

I've learned that patience is power. Proverbs 25:15 says “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded; and, a gentle tongue can break a bone.” Not through strength, works or popularity…..through patience.

Spiritual patience is allowing our lives to run on God’s time, not our own.  That's a hard thing for us ladies to do.  After all, Beyonce says that we run the world!  “Ran by the men but the women keep the tempo.” It's so true in our households isn’t it?  We set the pace and keep things running like clockwork. When we see our families suffering, floundering and self destructing, we want to make it all better; but in the process, we put pressure on ourselves to do what only God can do.  His is a pace far beyond Bey’s lyrics and our understanding.  But if we let Him set it, then we have the power; His power in us.  The power to endure financial troubles. The power of steadfastness in relationships and the power in waiting for God even when we are afraid or angry.  Patience is power. 

 

Colossians 3:12 says to clothe ourselves in it; so let's put it on.  In those moments when we feel ourselves losing control, when we are broken down, crying and hurt, and when we have absolutely had it up to here, let's remember that we have the power of patience.  We can wait on God.  We have a powerful capacity to love, nurture and persevere.  Our capacity for patience, no matter its current size, is powerful as well. If we choose to put it on each day, each moment we feel lost and each moment we feel urgency setting in… it will grow.  I may never be able to control my face; but, I've learned that saying, “I will wait for God” is the power I didn’t know I had.

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