Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent II

Living with an attitude of patience has never been an easy thing for most of us.  There are no warning signs which tell us that our patience is about to be measured.  On the road we travel there are signs warning us that a snake like curve, or a steep hill, or a railroad crossing is ahead.  There is time to prepare.  But, in the journey of daily living, there are no warning signs to tell us danger or difficulty lies ahead.  Instead, the moment of testing is suddenly and unexpectedly hard upon us.  There is no time to ready ourselves.  The only moment is the moment of reacting or responding. 
I remember one foolish fellow full of youthful enthusiasm for Christ who said he prayed for temptation to come so that he might grow stronger more quickly in his faith.  About all I knew to do was to point him toward the wisdom of Jesus expressed in that prayer He taught His disciples to pray.  In the same manner, it may be dangerous to pray for patience.  Who among us wants the kind of things to come in our life which will measure our patience?  Who among us wants to have the opportunity to be patient if it means dealing with difficulty and delay?
Patience is not developed in us by practice.  If wanting to be more patient made us patient people, most of us would be much further along the road of being in control.  As we read the Scripture it is interesting that patience is listed in that section Paul wrote about the fruit of the Spirit.  "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience..."  (Galatians 5:22)  If we take this Word seriously, we find ourselves coming to a place of understanding that patience in us is not so much about will power and human determination as it is about abandoning ourselves completely to God so that He can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

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