February 4. Love is Patient

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February 4. Love is Patient

I was only fourteen years old, but I recognized that patience wasn’t something easily acquired. So, I asked God to help me have patience one evening while in prayer. That was the beginning of a 35+ year struggle of wills.  My impatient nature against that which I had asked God to teach me.

In so many ways, He has won the struggle; yet it seems as if I continually find new ways to beat at the walls of a patient life.  I suspect that with age comes a better understanding of the passage of time and I comprehend the need to allow some things to just play out in their own time.  With myself and my failings, my need to understand and learn, my desire to accomplish goals, on and on … I have limited patience.  I want to be at a certain point and am not terribly understanding of the passage of time while I get there.

The Greek word here is ‘makrothymeo.’  Its definitions will not make you feel any better about yourself if you think you’re an impatient person.

1. To remain tranquil while waiting.  When we were kids, mom would come into our room after we had fallen asleep on Christmas Eve with a stocking stuffed to the brim and lay it at the foot of our beds.  She knew there would be no tranquility on Christmas morning for anyone until we could get to the foot of the tree, but she bought an extra hour or so for her and for Dad.  We weren’t allowed to come out of our rooms until they were up and moving, so the stockings kept us busy.

2. To bear up under provocation without complaint.  I don’t know of too many people who will put up with something without complaint.  I immediately think of the number of churches I’ve belonged to … the complainers are loud and noisy.  Too many things get done just to keep them happy and out of everyone’s hair.  It only reinforces a bad behavior and it is hard to believe that we prefer to get things done with negative behavior, but we do.

3. Delay.  A third definition entry finds that this word is used when describing God’s purposeful delay in activity on earth.  It is never easy to understand why God doesn’t jump in and fix things when we think He should, but our patience and trust in His omnipotence will always enrich the relationship we have with Him.

Patience is a difficult lesson.  Have I gotten better at having it over the years.  I certainly have, but it seems as if there is a never ending series of circumstances that will bring me to my knees with impatience.