Love Defined: Choosing Patience When You Want to Complain
My 3-year-old broke her arm this week. I must say that she is one tough kid. Not only did she barely cry, but she went on playing as if nothing had happened. It wasn’t until the next morning that I even noticed she was favoring that arm. No swelling. No bruising. I took her in to get an x-ray and sure enough, it was broken.
What surprised me most about my daughter through all of this was her calmness about the whole thing. She has not complained once about her cast. In fact, she’s quite proud of it.
As I sat down and prepared for today’s post on patience and kindness, I couldn’t help but think about my daughter and her patience through this entire process.
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Patience – “the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like” (dictionary.com)
As Christians, we are called to be patient. There are three instances where we as believers are called to be patient:
We need to be patient in difficult circumstances.
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12 (NLT)
The Bible pretty much guarantees that we will have trials in this life, and how we deal with them is crucial. Choosing to be patient not only builds our faith, but it also speaks volumes to those around us. Complaining or getting angry only demonstrates to others that we don’t trust God with our problems.
We need to be patient with each other.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. – 2 Timothy 2:24 (NLT)
For me personally, this aspect of patience is the one I struggle with most. I can be patient with complete strangers, but choosing patience with the people closest to me can be difficult. It’s so easy to lose my cool when it comes to my kids or my husband. I get so easily frustrated with them.
The truth is that everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has flaws. Paul said it best to the Ephesians when he said that we need to make “allowance for each other’s faults.” We expect others to be patient with us when we make mistakes, so in the same way, we need to be patient with them. This includes controlling our tempers. We can’t expect the people around us to feel loved when we are constantly using harsh words and demeaning tones. It’s important to remember that the things we say in anger can’t be unsaid.
We are called to patiently wait on the Lord.
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. – Romans 15:4 (NLT)
As we all know, God’s timing and our timing don’t always align. We can rest assured, however, that His promises will one day be fulfilled. Both on a global scale as well as in our personal lives, God always keeps His promises.
Waiting on God means that we trust Him completely. We trust that He always has our best interest in mind and that He is always working things together for our good. Our worldview is often limited. We see the here and now, but God sees the bigger picture. He sees the end result.
Patience is a skill. As with any other skill, it needs to be practiced before it can be perfected. I have found that the more I pray for patience, the more opportunities God gives me to practice my patience. (I sometimes wish I hadn’t prayed for more patience!)
One of the things I love most about serving God, however, is that God knows my weaknesses. He knows that I can’t be patient 100% of the time on my own. He asks us to be patient, but then He actually gives us the patience we need to endure. Because we have the Holy Spirit living within us, we can be patient in our trials and circumstances, in our relationships with one another, and as we wait on the Lord.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5 (NLT)
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash