Patience. It’s a virtue, right? Keeping calm in the face of irritation and frustration is no easy feat. In fact, it’s something I struggle with.
Here’s an example of patience you may have read already in my wife’s words, but it illustrates my point.
Then we’ll look at why Jesus, the perfect man, was a man of great patience.
Nothing is more frustrating than waiting in line due to the incompetence of the person behind the counter.
One day last fall my wife was attempting to check-out at a large store. She always verifies that the products in her basket match the requirements on the coupons she plans on using. In fact, she’s almost paranoid about it.
So after all her merchandise had passed over the scanner, and the coupons were well under way, she was surprised when the associate stopped the process, telling my wife that a coupon did not pair with the product she purchased.
My wife quickly apologized, found the product she had purchased in one of the bags, and the associate cleared it.
This happened repeatedly until the associate declared that a particular product had been purchased in the wrong size. The coupon stated that it had to be a pint or larger. My wife was holding up the quart size of the product she had purchased. It even matched the picture on the coupon.
The associate once again declared that the product must be a pint or larger. My wife blinked a couple of times before restating that the product in her hands was a indeed a quart.
The associate went to get a manager. The manager repeated the fact that the product must be larger than a pint. My wife repeated the (obvious) fact that she was holding a quart. They reached what appeared to be a standstill over whether a quart was larger than a pint. Finally, the manager allowed my wife to use the coupon out of the “kindness of her heart.”
To make a very frustrating story short, my wife (although somewhere in the conversation she did explain basic measurement to the two employees) kept her patience in a situation that warranted an outrage.
We should all have this type of control.
Because Jesus is God, He is the perfect example of what a “real man” should look like.
Here is an illustration of patience from Jesus life.
One of the best pictures of Jesus’ patience – aside from laying down His life for a people who didn’t deserve salvation – is found in Matthew 26. Here Jesus takes Peter, James and John with Him to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In this passage, Jesus – three separate times – returns from praying to find the men asleep. Our Lord knew that His time on earth was short and the weight of the world was beginning to literally press upon His shoulders. He sweat drops of blood as He asked His father to remove the cup that was before Him.
Yet when the Son of God needed simple companionship and His closest friends praying for Him – standing alongside Him – He returned to find them asleep.
Yes, the men had been through a long day, but didn’t Jesus deserve more than that? He had spent years preparing for what was ahead of them and educating them on the Father. He had walked with them daily – training them in righteousness.
He had given them the ability to perform miracles and cast out demons.
But when Jesus needed them, they let Him down.
At this point, it would have been easy for Jesus to throw a righteous fit. He could have told them how much He needed them and how they had let Him down.
He could have been more severe and required them to perform some duty to get back in His graces or just banish them from being disciples.
Instead, in spite of the hurt, frustration and agony he felt in his humanity, Jesus was patient and showed grace and mercy for them.
The next time you are in line waiting due to someone’s incompetence, you get behind the slowest car, have to deal with the most difficult customer, child, spouse, vehicle or appliance…
Remember all of the times you have let down our Lord. How often have others had to wait for you. When has Christ waited for you to come to repentance, to obey Him by speaking His Truth to someone or loving the unlovely? Then exemplify this most important Fruit of the Spirit.
Be patient. And remember, Romans 14:13 Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way.
Though I had heard this story from Cindy, I appreciate hearing it from your perspective on patience. We never know how our response will affect another.