I used to think that I was a pretty patient person. That was before kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and think that they are great. But, since they were born, I misplaced my patience and haven’t been able to find it since.
What made the difference in their reactions? After all, the tractor belonged to Grandpa. If anyone had the right to be the most upset, it was him.
The difference was in their patience.
Dad was still learning and maturing in his child-rearing. With that, his patience was still in the operating room, waiting for a transplant.
Grandpa had already raised his children. He had worked on a farm his entire life, enduring all of the things beyond his control. His patience had the opportunity to have the successful operation, and to be safely returned to his care.
So, what about Dad today? Today, he is the new Grandpa (or, Beepaw, to my kids). There have been times that his grandchildren did something worthy of wrath, but he learned to say, “Boys will be boys,” just like his father-in-law. His children, knowing the punishment they grew up with for such trespasses, point out the difference in the reactions then and now.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines patience:
1 The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or complaining.
2 A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent.
In light of this definition, I think that most of us can rule out patience as a virtue that is part of our lives. We may endure the difficult and trying times, but do we do it without murmuring and discontent? Do we remain calm and unruffled? The invention of the car horn tells otherwise.
The book of Romans chapter 5 speaks about patience and how we are able to build it in our lives. If you’re familiar with this passage, you already know that you don’t like the process. It says that patience comes from tribulations.
We cannot build patience by avoiding problems and difficult situations. We must go through them. And we must go through them while not complaining.
(James 1:4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
God is trying to build our patience. We have to learn to let Him. He wants us to be perfect (not perfection, but mature and complete). As we grow in our patience, we will also grow in our contentment and peace. It will decrease our greed and selfish desires.
Question: So, how patient are you?