“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
(I Corinthians 13: 4 – 7 NLT)
Love is “patient”. Patience is one of the qualities that God wants to give us, and it is a characteristic of God Himself. It’s actually thinking about God’s patience with me, that gives me the incentive or motivation to be patient with others. How can I accept God’s patience without extending that to others? The apostle Paul talks about God’s patience with him as he writes to his student pastor, Timothy; Paul says that God demonstrated His patience in choosing Paul for the important job of bringing the Gospel to the Gentile world. Prior to becoming a Christian, Paul’s goal in life was to exterminate the Christians. He travelled from place to place with his government and Jewish-faith supported troops to find them and put them in jail or to death. I Timothy 1: 16 says, “But God had mercy on me (Paul) so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life”(NLT). Paul realized that God’s patience was amazing; God didn’t let him continue on his anti-Jesus path, but turned his life right around. God is patient even with His enemies. And God is patient with you. “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2: 4 NLT)
Since Valentine’s Day is coming, I’ll ask – how does patience play a part in your marriage? You chose your life partner because he/she was the perfect one for you … and then you lived with them for a while. I first met Wayne while we were at university, and to get his attention, I started going to the university library to study at a desk not far from where he sat. I can remember being so impressed with how focused he was while studying, and with how smart he was
What I didn’t realize, until after we were married – he was a very focused person all the time, and doing an excellent job was a priority thing for him. So, when we bought our first home and started painting and decorating, I found out that there were perfect ways to do the job that I had never heard about. I discovered that taping the baseboards and trim was a great job for me, and then he did the rest of the work. If we invited someone to come over on short notice, I discovered that I shouldn’t ask him to tidy and vacuum the living room. When he vacuumed, all the furniture got moved and he found things that might even need to be fixed. That’s not good when the company is arriving in a few minutes. Living with a perfectionist is … interesting … and that required me to develop some patience. BUT wait a minute! I know he needed patience too. Would you like to live with someone who said “that’s OK with me” all the time when you knew it was not OK?
Love is patient, and we’re not perfect, so patience is something we all need to work on in a marriage. All couples are made up of two very different people. In fact, there is a saying that “opposites attract”. But those opposites together make a great team if they are patient with each other. The funny thing is over the many years Wayne and I were together, we moved more to the centre on that perfectionist issue. He became a lot more relaxed, and I tried to do things well.
In this pandemic time, I suspect that being patient is even more challenging. We don’t have the opportunity to just get out of the house and visit with friends. Or have an evening out at a restaurant, or at the movies, or a concert – doing something we really enjoy. We have kids at home doing their schoolwork online, and that can be very frustrating. A lot of students don’t do well with this type of learning. I think that sets us up for being more impatient.
I want you to think about the patience issue with your partner/your family. What is the thing that irritates you most? Do you need to look more carefully at your own expectations? Do you have to decide that “whatever it is” is just who they are, and it’s something you need to be patient about and accept? Maybe you need to figure out a compromise which means YOU have to do some changing. Take a deep breath and remind yourself of how patient God is with you. Think about it.
Proverbs 25: 15 “Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.”
Psalm 40: 1 “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.”
Romans 12: 12 “Rejoice in confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.
Our song for today is Everlasting God (We Will Upon the Lord) by Chris Tomlin