We want faster dial-up for the Internet, instant hot water, faster speeds on the highways, and no waiting lines at the stores where we shop. In this day of "instant this" and "instant that," patience is becoming a rare commodity. Richard Rolle, a thirteenth-century writer, wrote, "Many seem patient when they are not pricked." What is the jab that sets me off?
God has not promised that we will be stress free. Just the opposite! He has promised us tribulation, but with His presence. I need to ask myself, "How much do I want to become a more patient person?" Trouble, rough days and things not going right are the breeding grounds for patience. So, what is patience?
Patience is faith in God.
When things are not going well in my life, if I believe that God is in control of what is happening to me, then it will be easier to be patient rather than frustrated. Faith in God--believing that He loves me and is working good for me through my trials; trusting that He is in control of my life--relieves stress when I am in a mess. Even if I'm in trouble because of my own willfulness or wrongdoing, God can and will bring good from it if I trust Him to do so. When I am impatient I am not fully trusting God to direct my life; I still want control.
Patience is an attitude of trust.
Patience is the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting, an attitude of looking to God in every circumstance and trusting Him with it.
Patience is loving others.
When I want my agenda and I want it done my way I become impatient. I need to ask myself, "Is my plan or method of doing things so perfect?" Is yours? All of us are fallible. My expectation of service, success or speed may be unrealistic. If I consider the other person first, my impatience will recede.
Teaching patience in the family is not easy. Here are some thoughts that may help.
Children will not learn patience if the parents are not patient. Youngsters play follow-the-leader every day at home. You're it!
Insisting that children apologize to anyone they have offended will help them to be more patient the next time they want to clout or yell.
Instantly supplying children's wants will not teach patience. "Sorry, that isn't in our budget right now," is an appropriate answer to our darling little beggars when we shop in the toy department for another child's birthday gift. Denying requests most of the time makes a gift doubly delightful when you can say yes--delightful for the child and for you.
Traveling with children will be more enjoyable if they are not allowed to ask, "Are we there yet?" every five minutes. Small toys and games will help keep them interested in things other than the journey's end.
Through working together and praying together, everyone can grow patience at home.