Patience transforms our character
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of receiving something that I knew was coming, or would arrive eventually. It was a Christmas card. The French post is not as speedy as the UK postal service, it is not the only one that I have received this year. I did get another one around about the 18th of January. It is nobody’s fault, the cards were posted in time for Christmas and I just didn’t receive them. I knew that they were coming, they were on their way, I just had to be patient that’s all. Each day I would check the external postbox to find that it was ‘not today’ and I knew that it was definitely ‘en route’ as they say.
Over the next few days, now that I have finished reading through the Bible for this time, I am getting ready to travel back to the UK. Getting laundry done, selecting through reading material, checking over things in the motor home. I am very excited at the prospect of the coming months. Being back in my home town for a while before setting off to Nepal, but I have been ever hopeful of receiving this Christmas card before I return.
It matters not one jot that it arrived on the 29th of January. Over a month after Christmas had finished, what mattered was that it arrived. It was promised and it arrived. That’s it. What happens in the middle is only our character. We find that waiting builds patience in our lives. It can strengthen our faith and intensify our trust when our expectations are altered to incorporate time. In this ever increasing world of speed and instant everything, patience is the absolute opposite of expectation. Fast food, fast cars, fast delivery of whatever you want, is the new normal in this competitive daily battle with materialism.
The Bible is absolutely bursting with different aspects of patience, most importantly, God’s patience with mankind. Time after time, God’s patience, coupled with love, mercy and his grace. In probably the utmost epitome of patience we read in the book of Romans 5:8;
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
When we look into this verse and see God’s love for us, Christ sacrificed, the ultimate price already paid in full, for the remission of our sins, upon the cross of Calvary. As God waited for us to come to repentance, what patience immeasurable is that God demonstrates in grace, for a sinner with a blackened heart like mine. Isn’t it something to think about in our daily duties? Patience, isn’t it a fruit of the Spirit as detailed by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22;
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience (long suffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.”
It may be waiting for a Christmas card, but it could be a supermarket queue. At a junction on the road whilst driving, dealing with a problematic person at work, if we introduce patience to the situation, it is only the boundaries of time, the beginning of the situation has already started and the end will come. It is patience that sits in the middle and our reaction to that is tantamount as a Christian. God is patient with us, share some of that patience outward to others.
The card that I received was from a dear sister in Christ, she was quite surprised as I called her yesterday to thank her, and don’t many Christians say, Jesus is our Christmas every day!