Not everyone has had the experience of their vehicle running out of gas. We may have driven on “Empty”, but we made it to the nearest gas station to refill the tank. Some of us, however, know the feeling of your vehicle starting to putter as every drop is used up by the engine. Without the gas, you are done traveling for now. Wherever the gas tank went completely empty, that’s where you are. All you can do now is wait to find gas somehow, whether it is you walking down the road to look for a station or a kind passerby stops and helps you out. Regardless, you will have to do some waiting.
In our society, we do not often tend to do well when it comes to waiting. In our fast paced, instantaneous culture, we are not accustomed to waiting too long for anything. If the wait becomes too long, we start to run out of patience. We may be impatient with our current situation, or we may lose patience with another person. And as we have seen, when patience runs out for an individual that individual can sometimes act out in some not so positive ways. We lose our tempers and tend to “show ourselves.”
As followers of Jesus, we are called to live lives that demonstrate patience. Patience in trying situations and patience with other people. Paul, the Apostle, in his letter to the church in Corinth wrote about God’s love, “Love is patient and kind.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) Christian love models itself after God’s love with overflows with patience towards each of us. In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you.” God knows that we are all works in progress. Our Christian journey is about growing more and more like Jesus. It is a progressive growth that takes time and dedication. Along the way, we stumble in sin, walk away from God’s desires, and find ourselves stuck and not making any progress. If God were not patient with us, we would be in some serious trouble. Yet, because God is loving, God is willing to wait and work with us. God is patient with us because God knows that time makes a big difference.
Patience is indeed a virtue in our lives. It doesn’t always come easy for us, but it should be a daily goal to live with the kind of love that demonstrates God’s kind of patience. Patience which is loving and affirming, encouraging, and forgiving, gentle and kind. In a world that seems to lack patience, Christians must model the better way of Jesus by living and relating to others as Jesus did. Jesus always saw individuals as worthy of his time, his attentiveness, and kindness. And he did it all out of his love for God and his love for others.
When we say yes to Jesus, we say yes to all of Jesus; even those aspects of Jesus’ life that we find challenging, like living with patience, and being patient with others. When we demonstrate patience in our lives it will cause others to take note because this is not the way the world operates. Hence, our patience with others can be a powerful witness to our God who is patient with all of us. Sometimes we can find ourselves running low on patience. It is then we need to stop and be refilled with the One who is patient with us.