Friday, October 17, 2008
I've always heard the saying "patience is a virtue." If we check the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings entry for "Patience is a virtue" is the ability to wait for something without excessive frustration and is a valuable character trait. The proverb has been traced back to 'Piers Plowman' written by William Langland and is similar to the Latin phrase, Maxima enim..patientia virtus (Patience is the greatest virtue) and the French phrase, Patience est une grant vertu. (Patience is a great value.) Some ten years after Langland, Chaucer wrote in 'The Canterbury Tales' that 'Patience is a high virtue.' So is patience a virtue? I say yes, but unfortunately I am very lacking in most instances. I hate it when I am trying to call a business and get the usual automated reply, "press 1 for English." Then "press 1 to review your account" "press 2 to file a complaint," "press 3 to hear more options and on and on. I am always tempted to just hang up and sometimes I do. That's always a lesson in patience. Or what about driving in traffic, waiting through 2 or 3 red light signals before being able to move on down the road, drive a couple of blocks and get another red light. I'm usually not a very friendly driver by the second or third light. My blood pressure also goes up when I get "trapped" behind an extremely slow drive or boxed in by other cars. How about waiting in line at the local store? Seems no matter what, I always choose the slow lane with the person in front of me having several items that need a price check. Last but not least is when I am ready to leave the house and those traveling with me are not moving fast enough. I usually lose it and get so frustrated. God has really been convicting me of this weakness called impatience, as I usually don't appear very Christ-like. So I grabbed a cup of tea and settled in for a study with my Bible for some Divine inspiration. Of course right off the bat I was drawn to Gal. 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience reminding me that patience does not and can not come from me but from the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's operation in my soul. So to be more patient I need to make sure I am not suppressing the Holy Spirit. My usual cry is "Why can't I be patient?" Now I know, I can't do it by myself. I need to ask, "Lord show your patience through me?" Next I was led to 2 Cor 6:4-64 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, . . . by the Holy Spirit. There it is again, "only through the Spirit." I may be a slow learner, but I think I am getting it. Finally, I looked up Col 3:12 in the Amplified Bible and loved what it said, Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones, [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. The last part really hit home, "endure whatever comes with a good temper." Starting today, my prayer in time of impatience will be "Lord fill me with your Spirit of patience that I may commend myself as your servant." Until next time, be covered in His grace and filled with patience.