Lent Blog #2 (Practicing Patience)

March 10, 2011

“Patience is a virtue.” This proverb is not a new one. I have heard this uttered and I have even said it myself on several occasions. And as with many virtues, it is not easy to come by. It is truly a cultivated thing that requires practice. Daily. But, it is imperative. To anyone. In any walk of life.

There are two Greek words that are used throughout the New Testament for patience. One is Makrothumia which translates directly to “long temper”. I wish that I could see people living this out daily. Sadly, I don’t. We are an impulsive people, especially when it comes to turmoil. When we are attacked, in any form or fashion, our natural response is to fight, or flight. Flight insinuates fear and so, most of the time, we turn to fight. And we are quick to fight, too. When someone bruises us, we are eager to bruise right back. I look at God, who loves me with a foolish patience. I have hurt him. I have tried to see how life worked when I did things my way. And through that, I have had a God who has waited patiently on my return.

The second Greek word used in the New Testament is Hupomeno. This translates “to abide under”. This is form of patience that is easier to come by, but only when it is convenient. For the most part, we are patient with those that abide over when we think that they should be in that position. Take, for instance, our president. Unfortunately, in the Christian community, I typically see very little patience when it come to the subject of our president and our government. The first thing that comes to mind is to immediately “fix” what has gone wrong. But, God has not called us to fix His earth and His people. He has called us to love them. And He has called us to love Him. He has called us to patience under what we feel are unfair circumstances. This world will not last forever. He has called us to hold on. Just a little longer.

Love, without patience, is nothing. There are nine fruits of the spirit for a good reason. All of them compliment one another. Relationships require patience, faith requires patience, everything requires patience. And sometimes that patience is not the easiest to come by. And sometimes I am inclined to give up, insisting that my sanity is more important than having patience with people and God. But God does beautiful things in patience. He does great things while we wait. When we abide under. When we are slow to anger.

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