September 1st, 2008
When I was a good bit younger, I was taught a few lessons that stuck with me concerning a particular eight letter word. That word is patience. One thing I was told is that patience is an eight letter word, which makes it twice as bad as a four letter word. The other thing I was told is to never pray for patience. If you pray for patience, you were more than likely going to face some kind of trial that could be lengthy and would probably be no fun to go through.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how these ideas are not necessarily true. Obviously, if you count the letters in the word patience, you can see it has eight letters in it. However, if we come to learn real patience, it can be one of our greatest treasures in life. True patience allows us to be calm in really rough times. True patience also helps us to mature into rational people who are not easily stirred by passing trends in our cultures and society. Patience may be a trait that is hard to learn, but it is certainly not a bad thing.
In Psalm 37 one verse adds some perspective on the word patience in sight of a Christian life.
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” (Psalm 37:7 ESV)
You see, for a Christian true patience is required to truly live for God. We know through scripture and hopefully through our life’s experiences that God is a God who will act and be faithful to his people. Knowing this, if we allow ourselves to learn patience, we will be able to be calm even against those who would work against us.
Do you remember that second thing I was taught? I was told not to pray for patience. Besides the fact that scripture clearly seeks it for those who call themselves Christians, this passage also shows us that when we are patient we can face the trials of evil and rough times because we will have learned to wait for the Lord to act.
Psalm 37:5 gives us this reminder before it even mentions our need for patience.
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:5)
Now that’s some great news! All we have to do as Christians is trust God to act and commit to letting him act as his word claims he will. Yes, it may not be right away, and that may be tough and tiring, but it’s better than letting our exhaustion lead us into times that are even worse because we compound the trial with our own sin.
This eight letter word, patience, is not a word that suggests much fun, because we all know, patience usually means we aren’t getting things our way and we aren’t having fun. However, patience is a remarkable tool for living true life. Caroline and I have been learning this day after day lately, and I can say, the more patient I become, the easier living those tough days gets. Will you commit yourself to the Lord and trust him to act? If so, then perhaps you are ready to let patience be a good eight letter word.
The Truth found in this writing was provided by God’s word.
Written by Timothy Hegerich / Edited by Dr. Vicki Hill