Losing our Patience
'Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is a virtue, or at least it was. My sense is that the world is increasingly impatient. But we would not describe ourselves that way.
Rather we see ourselves as focused and driven. In popular culture, we set ourselves goals. The achievement of goals brings good outcomes - progress. Non-achievement means things remain in a less desirable state. We are, after all, supposed to leave the world in a better place. We aim to ‘get ahead’. To see our children move forwards; achieve their full potential; outdo their parents. And when they do – this somehow is a marker of us having been successful parents.
Our internal desires for progress on the one hand and our deep unsettledness around things feeling static, or stale, breeds a deep discontentment with things as they are. We are impatient to see them ‘moving forwards’. We see ourselves as change agents. The choices we make, over the things we can control, is how we pull and push the levers of change.
Add to this the fact that we are time-poor. There are so many things to fix, to improve. The longer I am stuck ‘here’, the longer it is until I can get over ‘there’ and address ‘that’. We simply don’t have time to be patient.
And yet patience is found nestled between “love, joy, peace, [and] kindness, goodness…” (Gal 5:22-23). What makes patience something to value, to pursue?
Patience flows from two things. First, a reminder that God is in control. Second, that his timing is best.
Patience is required to be able to entrust yourself to God’s love and providence and rest in his timetable.
We can – and ought to – plant and water. But growth comes in God’s good time. '
Rev David Rietveld
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