Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Nature of Patience - Wrinkled Brows

Wrinkled Brows:  A Monday series on a word definition or quote of interest (perhaps only to me.)

Patience:  endurance, forbearance, fortitude;  constant diligence in the performance of a task; capacity for waiting without complaint.

To be honest, I have never considered myself a patient person.  At least not by natural temperament.  I walk fast, talk fast, and generally do most things with a good deal of zip.  Well, maybe not quite so much zip these days. 

Thus, in these very limited circumstances in which I currently find myself, I am finding my patience sorely tried.  But I am trying to be intentional about developing a greater capacity for patience.

It is an interesting fact to note that among all the gifts of the spirit listed in I Corinthians 12, patience is not among them.  There is no such gift, which leads to the old joke, "Lord, please give me patience, and give it to me right now."

There is, however, a fruit of patience, which is listed among the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5.  Ah ha - now we begin to come to the heart of the matter.  A gift is nearly instantaneous.  It is presented, it is accepted, and voila' there you have it.

But a fruit - oh, dear, you see where I am going with this don't you?  Every fruit begins with a small seed, which must be nurtured, tended to, watered and grown, over a considerable period of time.

And even then, there are no guarantees of successfully producing an actual edible piece of fruit.  There are the threats of disease, bad weather, foolish gardening mistakes ... why there are all kinds of obstacles to successfully growing good fruit. 

So lately, while I am on caregiver duty, I am also keenly aware that even though I may be doing "honorable duty" in serving, if I do so with a resentful attitude, an angry chip on my shoulder, or an "oh me, poor me sigh", I will be no closer to developing more patience than if I had flat out refused to help at all.

In a much earlier post, I wrote about a lady I worked with in painting our church kitchen one weekend, who sighed and sighed, until I finally asked her what the problem was.  She acknowledged that she knew she was going to "lose her reward for this job, because I have complained the whole time."  I laughed so hard, she eventually started laughing too.

But we do that to ourselves sometimes, don't we?  We sabotage our own spiritual growth by adopting the very heart-stances that will prohibit such growth.  We are self-defeating creatures to be sure.  No wonder the Apostle Paul wrote, "Oh, miserable man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?"

The answer, of course, was and is Jesus.  He is our great example of patience.  He was patient with Peter when he denied him, with James and John, as they argued about who could sit on his right hand, and with Thomas when he doubted him unless he could put his finger in the nail scars.

He has also been patient with me - during times too numerous to count.  Thus, I want to be more patient with others, and even with myself.  I'm presently not very good at it.  But I am honestly working on it. 

Hope no one is trying your patience today, but if they are, I hope you are taking the opportunity to grow.  :)  Oh, go on, it could be fun.  Until next time ...Marsha
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"Love is patient, love is kind."  I Corinthians 13:4


  1. Thank you for sharing my lilacs with me! And for this insight about patience not being a gift but a fruit - requiring time to plant and nurture. I had never thought about it that way before!

  2. I love the way you explained "patience" - though I have heard the topic in many sermons, I have never found the understanding which you have shared. Your thoughts on patience make sense, totally. I have a short attention span and find myself impatient when things move slowly and out of my comfort zone. I still have so much to learn...Thanks for sharing your insight!!

  3. The tiny seed of my patience that was planted in me at a very early age was squashed by the tumult of life and never flowered. Ha. I have to say that more than anything, I wish I were a patient person. I'm workin' on it, but it is a challenge.

  4. Ah. Patience. An elusive quality for coffee addicts :)

  5. Patience is not being in a hurry or rush for example drive a bit slower means you are a more patient driver. Taking time to make decisions is patience. One day you think you have all the answers so wait until tomorrow, you may feel you don't have the right answer. Maybe you do but the wait may confirm if your decision is the right one. Haste makes waist. robert-7000ft