Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Hard to be Patient

Tuesday, July 10
Scripture Reading—James 5:17-22

I don’t need to tell you that patience is hard for most of us to come by.  We live in a world that glorifies speed.  We get frustrated if we’re in a fast food line for more than two minutes, or if we order something online and can’t get it next day air, or if we have to stand in line at the grocery store behind someone who has the audacity to take the time to write a check!  Our lack of patience is not just manifested in our difficulty in waiting for things to happen—it’s manifested in the way we see ourselves and other people.  We seek gratification of our pleasures now, find it hard to set goals, plant seeds, take small steps so that one day we finally have enough for the down payment on that house, or are able to purchase that new dishwasher with cash.  No, we live in a culture that says, “You can buy it now and pay for it later.”  To some extent, our whole economy is based on the assumption that we as consumers are impatient.  But patience is a trait of people who walk with God.  It is exhibited in small wayscontentment with who we are and what we have, an appreciation for the people God puts in our lives, a noticeable lack of upset when our egotistical goals and desires aren’t fulfilled.  It is exhibited in bigger, more profound ways, as well.  We see it on display in people who struggle with some physical, mental, or emotional impediment, yet who approach others with no trace of self-pity.  We see it in the examples of people who suffer with prolonged illness or endure the loss of a loved one with grace, dignity, composure, and calm.  We often think of patience as a passive trait—just putting up with something, being resigned to things as they are.  But I don’t think it’s that at all.  Patience may involve some degree of acceptance, but there’s a certain defiance in true patience.  True patience gives a person the courage to stand up to a disease or a loss, to speak out against injustice, to keep working to right a wrong when the odds are against them.  It is what we see in Jesus—a conviction that even in life’s darkest moments, God  is present and that God will in the end, secure the victory.  I think that’s what James hoped for his readers when he encouraged them in their difficulties, “Be patient…”

Thought for the day:  Walking with God gives us the patience not only to endure life’s difficulties, but to eventually triumph over them!

Prayer:  O God, it is so hard to be patient in this world.  Help me, in times of trouble, to slow down, rely on you, and live with the assurance that you will give me the victory at just the right time.  Amen. 

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