Patience

You Cannot Change Disagreeable Weather and The Folks Who Annoy You the Most

Ed, my neighbor next door, loves to go ice fishing, so I asked him how the fishing has been this winter. His reply surprised me. He said that he hasn’t had the patience to do any fishing, because of the mean wind chills. His motivation to go outside ends with coffee with his friends, bowling, and curling. He has run out of patience as the extreme wind chills, just hang on like Velcro. Ed is convinced that since March 1 turned out to be a wind chill blowout in the -50 range, all of March, will be the same. Ed calls it a polar bear winter as the arctic air has us in a bear hug and won’t let go of us.

I agree with Ed that our weather in January and February has had more than its share of bitterly, cold wind chills. I hope Ed is wrong, and March turns out to be warmer with kinder wind chills, but time will tell. Sometimes, situations are slow to change. The weather sure can test our patience with stretches of rain that won’t quit, especially, when there is a need for seeding or harvesting. Then there can be times of drought that dries up the land and life in everything. The weather can certainly teach us to be patient or feed our resentment for what we don’t like and cannot change.

To be patient is to endure pain, trouble, bitter wind chills, etc. without complaining. It is the ability to tolerate delays, difficulties, hardships and confusion while persevering in what we cannot change. It is very tempting to get stuck complaining about what we cannot change, like the weather and other folks while ignoring what we can change about ourselves. Reinhold Niebuhr words are famous for focusing our need for patience and serenity, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

When Jesus was on earth, he patiently endured scoffers and the continuous attempts of his enemies to discredit him. Even when his enemies led him like a sheep to slaughter, he was silent. When he was on the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” He patiently went about loving his enemies and praying for those who persecuted him as the Son of his Father in heaven. He remained faithful to God in prayer in his terrible circumstances. Every day, every season and weather condition, can we be patient in affliction? We are instructed in the Bible to be patient until the Lord’s second coming. Proverbs 14 promises that a patient person has a great understanding. Some of us who would prefer to complain, rather than be patient, need to work at changing ourselves.

The day of the Lord is coming like a thief. Don’t scoff saying, “Where is this coming promised? Everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise. He is patient not wanting anyone to perish but come to repentance.” The Church season of Lent calls us to Christ’s patient suffering, and death and its power to lead us into repentance.

 

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Raymond Maher
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