A beautiful image is brought to my mind as I think of… a patient woman. Conversely, what an ugly image is brought to mind at the thought of an impatient woman. It takes me no time to bring up recollections of impatience (on my part or on the part of another). But what I seek is for ready responses of patience – patient thoughts, patient replies to requests, patient understanding.
So beautiful is the woman who patiently waits, patiently listens, patiently answers, patiently watches, patiently prays. I long for this peaceable fruit of righteousness. Though there are times my actions appear that I’ve not the vaguest understanding of patience, each day I have new mercies from the Lord to press on – renewed desire to live the Truth I know-that-I-know I believe. And, I’m learning that this is part of what patience does: it presses on. So, regardless how things seem to me to be today, Christ being my strength and my guide, I press on. I want to be longsuffering — not preoccupied with how things feel or how long things are taking or how long things have been difficult or whatever. How ever long something takes, I want to be about His ways, preoccupied with trust, with faith, with peace. I know this is right and what I really want — but my flesh gets all caught up in the temporal things and I appear to forget the eternal things in the stressful, anxious moments — in the seemingly never ending waiting for situations to turn around. It’s the stuff of life. Interestingly, I’m finding it’s not so much the big stuff, it’s the accumulation of a lot of small things (that sometimes feel huge and overwhelming)… a wayward child, an extended illness, financial reverses, troubles with family or friends, weight or health issues, communication difficulties. Well, you get the idea and probably understand what I’m talking about.
When I’m seeking to improve/correct an area, I know I must go only to the Word. So when this matter came to my mind and I genuinely knew I must act on it. So, I read in Galatians and reflected on the different facets of the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance), I considered them individually, though they are, indeed, integral parts of the whole. And while we might look at each aspect as we seek to develop different character qualities in our lives, they remain inextricably one fruit.
Then, a little further on in Ephesians 5.8-11, I read: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
So then I consider the fruit of the Spirit and the light of the Lord, and when I’m impatient or lack patience for someone or some situation, it must be that I’d turned my eyes from the Lord, it must be that I’ve stopped drinking long from the well of His Word or I’ve neglected to hold fast those things I know to be true. Ouch, right? I know that, intellectually speaking, I get this. But to DO these things — I relate to what Paul wrote about doing that which I do not want to do and not doing that which I would do. Ah, that war in the members! O, that I would seek to be as Samuel – (1Samuel 3.19) “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of His words fall to the ground.”
I want to hang on to the truths I want to govern my thoughts and actions and I want to respond in such a manner as to demonstrate Who’s governing my thoughts. When I’m faced with an opportunity to respond to a situation, I’m reminding myself to stop! and evaluate my response. Interestingly, simply asking myself: Is this thought/response fruitful (fruit-filled!) ? Or, is this an ugly response? Amazingly, I see the Lord correcting my thoughts and filling me with the sort of patience I long to have.
May the Lord be with you and may you always be blessed.