When we think of patience, most of us have had the misfortune to visit the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles to renew our driver’s license. I have not been there for a few years, but in the past, they had a reputation of long lines and waiting. I understand there are great improvements in their processing, but at my last visit, I heard every type of complaint, even to blaming lawyers for the lines. I never understood the rationale, but knew people were free to voice their opinion.
The truth is, most of us are short when it comes to patience. We normally say, “Lord, I have patience if you will give it now.” Although I am short on patience, I learned to endure in the Air Force, where everything was “hurry up and wait.’”
I hear more and more of road rage caused by impatience. My guess is that at least 75 percent of drivers speed. I admit I am guilty, as most would confess, but wouldn’t it be nice if all adhered to the speed limit? Often a driver will pass me to gain one space in line but does not actually gain any time. Recently I had a car pass me on a double yellow line, although he could not see around the curve ahead. Only by the grace of God did the driver not kill himself and me.
Bible scholars know patience is listed in the “Fruit of the Spirit.” However, “love” heads the list, and many Bible scholars agree the Apostle Paul placed it first, not only in position, but in importance. Thus, without love, we cannot possess the other eight Fruits of the Spirit (joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).
This may sound completely crazy, but God is love, and to be like him, we must love. The Bible says, “Love is patient, love is kind.” When we become impatient, I am afraid our reaction is not normally kind. A friend from South Africa, Frank Pretorius, has very little patience. When we are over there, he drives for us and is in complete control. Frank has very little patience with anyone. When we go on excursions and he stops for a break, he gets out, does what he has to do, and then burns with impatience to get going again. All who have traveled with Frank can still hear him yell, “Let’s go!”
King Solomon wrote: “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly (foolishness).” (Prov. 14:29, NIV) I guess this reference is a little harsh on us, but Solomon was right. God wants his people to show patience. When we do, we become witnesses for God and how he has given us something that is not possessed by all.
If we have a problem with patience, we should go to Jesus and he will give it to us. We find in God’s word that Jesus will give us anything that we ask for in his name: “If you ask anything in my name, I will give it to you.” (John 14:14, NKJV)