Time for Patience

“with patience, bearing with one another in love…” Eph. 4:2  

“Come right now!” She shrieks, motioning frantically with her hands. “We don’t’ have time for this!”

He rises, from tying his shoe and slowly walks toward her, swinging his arms nonchalantly. She glances at the “Departures” screen, then at her watch, then back at the boy. With a huff, she rushes forward, grabs his hand and begins hauling him toward the hallway labeled “Gates 59-100”.

“Do you know what will happen if we miss our flight?” She mutters. But he doesn’t answer. All his energy is being expended in keeping up with her adult gait.

She sighs in relief as they enter gate 63 and line up with the passengers waiting to board. “We made it!” She gasps. He flops to the ground beside her and crosses his legs.

Do you relate? I know I do. Have you ever been so pressed for time, you couldn’t stop to be patient? What to do when rushing is the order of the hour? Does it take time to be patient?

Yes, and no. Yes, it takes time, but not any more time than being inpatient. Interestingly, I have found that often my impatience actually seems to devour time!

On Sunday I got to visit my brother, Chuck’s church with my family from Florida who were up for the Thanksgiving week end. He preached on Ephesians 4:2, and I’ve been chewing on the message ever since. “Some translations use the term ‘long suffering’ which, may surprise you, means suffering long.” He told us. So yes, patience takes time. It may take a long time. But it doesn’t rob time. Not like impatience.

Impatience takes the time we have and robs it of any enjoyment. Think about it. Have you ever seen an impatient person be joyful? Are you joyful when you are impatient? I know I’m not able to experience joy in the middle of my impatience. Patience, on the other hand, takes the time we have and gives it value. Patience breeds contentment. Impatience breeds contempt. Patience takes time and makes it sweet. Impatience robs time of any flavor save bitterness.

When I think about it, the patience of Jesus, his willingness to suffer long has brought about my eternal salvation. His long suffering for me is the sweetest gift! Isaiah tells us, “When he sees all that is accomplished he will be satisfied!” He endured the cross, because of the joy set before him. He suffered long, bearing the shame, because he knew ultimate joy awaited. As Chuck reminded us on Sunday our impatience is a result of not living out the reality of His patience with us. Jesus took time to be patient. He still does.

As I consider Paul’s exhortation, I realize once again, that what God is calling me to is better than my own way, not only for those to whom I extend patience, but for me too. Because impatience breeds death. But Jesus demonstrates that patience breeds LIFE!

When I think about it, I don’t have time NOT to be patient.

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