Word for Wednesday… Patience
You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.James 5:8
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.Romans 12:12
In last Sunday’s sermon, in an attempt to describe the differences between where I live now and where I grew up in terms of driving, I explained that “traffic” around here consists of getting stuck behind a tractor moving from one field to another. As luck would have it, that very thing happened to me yesterday, and in spite of all the tolerance for real traffic that I gained growing up in Northern Virginia, I found myself feeling a little impatient, wondering why the driver of the tractor didn’t bother to pull over so the three cars trapped behind him could resume traveling at (or slightly above) the posted speed limit.
Truth be told, there are many things far more important than a slow-moving tractor that are challenging our patience these days. I know we are all so tired of this pandemic. Even those of us who prefer isolation over social interaction are over it. We have grown impatient with wearing masks, social distancing, bathing in sanitizer, and being prevented from doing certain things. Some of you are struggling to wait patiently for the end of the current administration in Washington. Some of you struggled to wait patiently for the end of the last one. All of us have grown impatient with politics in general. On a more personal level, some of you may be struggling to wait patiently to receive test results from your doctor, a new opportunity for employment, or to find that special someone. Whatever it is, possessing patience can sometimes be very difficult, yet that is what we are called to as followers of Jesus.
In the Bible, as the two verses above indicate, many of the calls to patience are connected with the idea of hope and/or perseverance. Our ability to be patient, especially in the most dire of circumstances, seems to have a direct correlation to the amount of hope we have in a brighter future. Nobody has more reason to hope for a brighter future than we do. After all, the darkest outcome of any situation we can imagine is death, and Jesus has overcome it. They say patience is a virtue. Well it also seems accurate to say that patience is a Christian. In every situation where impatience is a temptation, pray for the strength to be patient, and to be reminded of the hope you have in Jesus and his promises. And as the passage from Romans reminds us, even in the waiting we can still be rejoicing. However long we have to wait for God to make all wrong things right again will not be remembered when we live forever with him.