Practicing Patience

If you travel on the freeway you will know how congested it is, and how frustrating!

As I travel to work I frequently see drivers weave in and out of the traffic, constantly switching lanes.

However, I note they rarely reach their exit before drivers who are more patient. We name patience as a great virtue, but it is a virtue difficult to cultivate.

Interestingly the terms patience and patient hood are derived from the Latin word meaning to suffer or endure!

To be a good carer requires a significant degree of patience. One of the greatest compliments a carer can be given is, “he or she never seemed to be in a hurry.”

Patience with other people is more likely to be developed when we recognise our common humanity and our mutual need for care.

In the Bible the concept of patience is extremely important. When used of God, it describes God’s willingness to wait calmly for the people to return in repentance so they can claim God’s offer of forgiveness.

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:8-10).

In the New Testament Saint Paul says that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). Love endures through the ups and downs of life. Our patient loving is a reflection of God’s love, and the work of God’s Spirit.

Sometimes the person we are least patient with is ourselves. We are all too aware of our imperfections!

Saint Francis De Sales wrote:

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

For the author of the book of James patience is one of the foundations on which Christian character is built and maintained. Patience (translated as endurance) brings about wholeness and maturity.

“You know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

This 2020, may God’s Spirit continue grow patient love within you so that you might be “mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Rev Alan Jeffrey
Presbytery Minister Pastoral

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