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The Virtuous Life: Patience

I’m not joking when I say that I think that the best way to learn patience is to have children.  Before my children were born, I thought I had a handle on patience.  Then came the time when my kids refused to eat dinner, go to sleep, decide on what outfit to wear, and which chair to sit in at the table.  Tonight alone my kids have called me to their rooms five times because they need something before they can go to sleep including their music turned up, their music turned down, water, colder water, and to say hi.

In 1 Corinthians 13 we read that love is patient.  While you won’t likely find a lot of love songs that include the theme of patience, you had better believe that patience is incredibly important if you want to have healthy relationships.  Patience is what allows us to show grace towards people, even when they continue to mess up in the same ways over and over.  Patience reminds us that the world does not revolve around our wants and our schedule.  When someone is patient with us, giving us grace and allowing us to be fallible, we experience genuine love.  That is why we must pursue patience, even when it’s not easy.

A need for patience is not just important in our earthly relationships; we must also seek to be patient with God.  If we are honest, we want God to work on our schedule, making things happen whenever we want them.  It turns out that God does not work like that.  God is always working in our midst, but His ways are not our ways.  We can become impatient with God for many reasons: desire for immediate healing, desire for an answers to our questions, not getting what we want when we want it.  However, when we choose to be patient with God, we are declaring that we trust Him.  We are saying that we believe that He will work things out for the good.

Living a life of patience is not easy.  My children could very likely make a list of times when I lost my patience and spoke harshly, and I can never think of a time when I felt justified or good about losing my patience.  What has helped me in my pursuit of patience is the knowledge that one of the best ways that I can show love is to willingly experience inconvenience and frustration.  I am also aided by the knowledge that my Savior demonstrates unfathomable patience towards me.  As Paul write is 1 Timothy 1:15-17 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Published inA Virtuous Life