When I started a particular role, I had no idea how God would use it to fashion the character refinement I need right now, for character refinement is a right now kind of thing.
In one word, patience. It continues to be an indispensable lesson through which God speaks.
Not that I see myself as principally impatient. But there are nuances of patience that are sometimes sadly lacking in me. I’m patient with the people I help, for instance. But I have been very impatient in the case of some interruptions and disruptions.
Here’s a story. Delivering meals to a ninety-five-year-old, I had to walk about 200 metres from my delivery van. I help her get the meals inside and then she asks for a menu. (I hadn’t thought about bringing one with me!) It’s nearly forty degrees Celsius (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and I will need not one more trek, but at least three. As I walked back to the van I began to complain. My heart was turning red. And immediately I knew it. What is worse than complaint? The ugliness of soul that must be borne in that mood. And it was my fault, which enigmatically made me more frustrated.
Isn’t it maddening, debilitating, and ultimately futile, when we kick against the goads of life? Yet, we all tend to rail against God some way or other. In this situation, I was complaining even in the knowledge it was making matters worse. Then, finally, comes the opportunity of resolve: PATIENCE, now. Not in five minutes. NOW.
I’ve had to learn the old-fashioned hard way, over several months, that God has His purpose in interruptions and disruptions, even if I still don’t like it. And no amount of frustration can reconcile that purpose. Frustration only leads to the promulgation of confusion, and that is the path paved with the bricks of becoming overwhelmed. Anger tips into sadness, which can end in tears, and finally the long way around to peace. And if anger doesn’t lead to surrender it follows that we may end up violent. Never good!
Patience is a direct route to peace, because it surrenders what is outside its control.
Patience is taking one’s opportunity to hear God speak into a situation of complaint.
Hear God say, “Ease up, you’re making much more of this than you have a say over.”
Patience is wisdom that borrows insight from hindsight, making it foresight.