(written several weeks ago)
… that’s never been one of my strong suits. (I wonder if that statement came from playing card? If so, I get it–a strong suit means you have a lot of cards in that “suit”–hearts, clubs, spades, or diamonds. When that is true, you have a good possibility of winning the game, or at least that hand or round.
So, If patience was my “strong suit,” it would mean that I have a lot of patience, and I’d have a good chance of “winning” this day’s trial or difficult circumstance.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;”
I Corinthians 13:4
“Suffers long,” like when it’s 1:34 PM and you haven’t had lunch. Did you know that hospitals don’t give meals a high priority? Yes, it’s a little trial but my patience bottle has already been depleted for the day! Where can I go to get more patience?!
“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
You have to “work” it up. Perhaps you’ve seen a performer “work” the crowd, getting them excited with his words. Is that what this means? We work up our patience by…? Doing what? Talking ourselves into it? I don’ think so!
I’m at the hospital with my mother–since Monday. It is Wednesday. I am the POA, so I get to make all these wonderful decisions. Just now, another unexpected issue came to our attention. I want to say to God, “It’s too much! I can’t do this!” And I’m right–I can’t.
Seeking comfort from anyone else did not happen either, so where do you go for patience, strength, hope? I went to the chapel. There, I sat at the keyboard and played, rehearsing the words of the songs in my heart. “My Jesus I Love Thee,” “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, There’s Just something about that Name,” “Jesus Loves Me” and others. Their message was clear and sweet, and with them came the balm I needed for my weary soul.
“There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No not one!”
Matthew Henry says,
“Stoical apathy and Christian patience are very different: by the one men become, in some measure, insensible of their afflictions; but by the other they become triumphant in and over them. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience and not passion, be set at work in us; whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it: let us not allow the indulging of our passions to hinder the operation and noble effects of patience; let us give it leave to work, and it will work wonders in a time of trouble…When we bear all that God appoints, and as long as he appoints, and with a humble obedient eye to him, and when we not only bear troubles, but rejoice in them, then patience has its perfect work. (emphasis added)
We are all a work in progress. Some have more patience than others. Some have been through amazing trials and testings which they have allowed to work or build their patience. That’s the kind of believer I want to be! Lord, help me!