The Patience

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and the late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” James 5:7-8
When my mother would reach the end of her rope with me, she would refuse to discuss or discipline my behavior any further. She would throw down her trump card, and quietly say, “Wait until your Father gets home.” She would turn and go about her business, whistling while she worked. It was disturbing on so many levels, but highly effective parenting.
This was the 1950’s version of “Time Out.” There was no chair, no going to one’s room, or countdown of fingers. It was a relief to Mom and a threat to me. I learned to take it seriously. The choice was clear. I could either repent or run. Mom on the other hand was a picture of calm and confidence. She knew she had back up when Dad got home, and that when he arrived on the scene I was going to do the backing up.
Patient, translated from the Greek word MAKROTHYMEO, is an expression of love, and an essential part of Christian character. It is not a matter of capping the volcano of anger, or simply postponing any display of moral outrage. Patience flows from a heart that has been strengthened by consistently placing confidence in the coming of the Lord. There is a calm that comes from knowing that someday He will make things right.
Patience is a fruit of The Spirit, not a creation of mine. Jesus plants His character in my life, in the form of His Spirit, but I must nurture what he plants, not supplant His work with my own version of patience. Capping the volcano is not the same as bearing fruit.
“The fruit of The Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…” Galatians 5:22-23
Confidence and calm is often driven out of my heart by intimidation from immediate circumstances or irritation delivered on my doorstep by annoying people. Can I get a witness?
Apparently, as stated in The Book of James, strengthening my heart with the knowledge that Jesus is coming again is a source of patience. Good to know.
Anything that grows over night in my yard is usually a weed. Patience is not easily or quickly produced. It has its source in the character of Christ, but the soil in which it grows is in my own heart. Sowing the salt of resentment into my heart over the disruption of my plans or interruptions from irritating people only postpones the harvest and damages the fruit.
Short-tempered is a word that has made its way into English usage, but long-tempered is not a very popular expression. The shorter version is uses to describe a fuse that is quick to light and soon to explode. In a culture that values a quick fix over a slow burn, there is little wonder why long- tempered has never caught on as an expression of patience.
The Roman army was considered to be a powerful military force, and yet it was not undefeatable. They would lose battles but they refused to lose the war. This resilient character in the face of temporary defeat was described as long-tempered. They chose to stay on the field of battle and fight it out with the enemy over the long haul. They had confidence in their weapons, and they knew that reinforcements were on the way.
Nothing in the world strengthens the heart like believing prayer. Prayer not only assures you The Lord is coming again, but that Jesus is here in the present tense. Prayer races to the side of The Champion in the line of battle, and gains confidence from the sound of His voice.
Note to Self: Pray and stay calm. The battle is over, and The Champion has won the victory. Pray your way through the disruptions and the interruptions. This too will pass, and the best is yet to come. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!