Have Patience. Not A Meltdown!

I admit patience has always been a luxury I’ve ignored. If there were a test for patience, I would test negative. However, I understand that patience accepts or tolerates delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Exercising patience is my weakness; bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like challenges me.

1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient.” The Greek word for patience is descriptive, figuratively meaning “taking a long time to boil.” I admire those folks who take a long time to show impatience. A pot boils quickly or slowly, depending upon the intensity of the heat under the pot. Some people have a low heat response when provoked, facing misfortune, delays, etc. Taking a long time boil is not something I have mastered yet.

Is patience the backbone of the Christian life? Are Christians asked to closely follow the example of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Lord? He showed that he could wait, persevere, hold out, and endure to the end. He was able to accept the limitations of his time and place. He was content to be the Lamb of God, led to the cross to take away the sin of the world by his suffering and death there.

Jesus might have become impatient with the refusal of those who doubted, resented, and slandered him. Yet, he did not seek their harm or death as those determined to kill him.

Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!”

Patience is a hard discipline. It means seeing beyond the present circumstance. It means bearing up under the worse that life brings our way. It’s taking what life offers, even if it means suffering. When things are difficult, resentment, doubt, and frustration may take over. Some folks feed on bitterness, others give up, but many lash out at others.

Not so with Jesus. Isaiah 53 (a paraphrase) speaks of Jesus’ suffering on the cross this way; He was stricken, smitten, and afflicted because the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. Although he was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed. Verse 7 relates: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was lead like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

When they crucified Jesus between two criminals, he prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). We do not know what God is doing when our patience is tested. Yet, we focus on being patient, as it is our hope for the future, no matter what God is doing in our lives, whether good or bad. We know of Christ’s resurrection and patiently anticipate God’s future good to come to us.

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