Wouldn’t it be great to become more patient without having to wait? Or maybe you’ve heard of the prayer, ‘Lord, give me patience…but please hurry it up!’ Most of us, I suspect, think of patience as our capacity to wait, or our capacity to cope with a slow moving process.
Sometimes I make the mistake of telling my 5 year-old early in the day that we’re going to McDonald’s for dinner, ‘Papa, is it time to go to McDonald’s yet?’ After fielding that question five times within the hour, I respond, ‘Anya, I need you to be patient.’ Fellow Toronto-nians recognize the need to be patient when setting out to travel on the 401. Long lines at the bank, the post office, and the restaurant, all call for us to be patient.
This past Sunday at St. Giles Kingsway we studied a passage in James about patience (James 5:7-11). Interestingly though, the call to patience isn’t a call to tolerate long line-ups or traffic jams. The Greek word employed by James literally means ‘steadfast’ and implies ‘the holding of one’s position when being tempted to run away.’ In other words, biblical patience isn’t so much about our capacity to wait as it is about our capacity to maintain our faith in the presence of adversity. A patient person, in the biblical sense, is someone who can stay the course when everything around them is threatening to throw them off course. Succinctly put, biblical patience is about the character of your faith under pressure.
James cites the Hebrew prophets, and Job, as examples of individuals who remained steadfast in the day of trial. Those examples inspire me. In the message I delivered this past Sunday, I added to the list of patient saints, Horatio Spafford, who penned the hymn ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ while grieving the tragic death of his four daughters. O, how I long to have a faith that can withstand life’s fiercest storms!
I invite you to have a listen. Perhaps you’ll find something to help you gain patience and strength for the challenges you are facing.
As always, I hugely appreciate hearing from you in the Comments section.