Practicing Patience

December 7, 2017

Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-15a

 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. –2 Peter 3:8-10

Patience is one of the fruits of the spirit outlined in Galatians 5:22-23 depending on which translation you use: patience (NRSV), forbearance (NIV), longsuffering (KJV). I must confess I rather identify with the King James’ longsuffering because my patience does not come naturally but is most often forced on me by things out of my control. Over the years, I learned, however, that patience is a good thing to have.

An older friend born in Germany shared that for the longest time as he learned English he translated the English words spoken to him into German in his head to understand them, making his response time somewhat slow. Even after being in the USA for 40 years, he still occasionally did that. Patience is rather like that, at first when it is intentional. We must practice patience to make it meaningful when it does not come naturally to us until it does.

C. S. Lewis in his book Four Loves describes a pesky neighbor who drove him crazy with some of her idiosyncrasies. His first reaction was to avoid her if at all possible. In so doing he was struck wondering how his behavior fit with God’s command to love his neighbor as he loved himself. Since he could not make himself love her, he decided the next best thing was to treat her as if he did and so he began treated her as he did other neighbors he loved. One day after an encounter with her, he realized that he had truly learned to love her as God calls us to love one another. Intentionally practicing patience works.

Prayer:  Lord, shower those of us for whom patience is a quest with your spirit enabling our ability to grow in patience. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.