I get a very real sense that we are experiencing a ‘patience pandemic’, or better said ‘an impatience pandemic. People are wearying with the covid restrictions on their lives. We long to return to “normal” and we seem on the verge of acting on this impulse, to the harm of ourselves and others. Could there be anything more counter to gospel living than that?
I find myself asking for patience and thinking a lot about it these days. I often think of myself as an impatient person. I hate to wait in line. I chaff while I wait. Then it occurred to me that my patience threshold is much like my pain threshold. A paper cut will cause me to fuss and fume. A slight bump on my head will cause me to howl and complain. Small pains cause inordinate responses, but the larger ones are a different story! I have plugged uncomplainingly through some serious injury and pain. I can be long suffering through years of difficult service in challenging circumstances. I am capable of long-term patience while my short-term patience is soon to disappear.
Pandemic patience calls me to the latter persevering kind. This pandemic is more than an annoyance, and so my impatient temper at annoyance is totally inappropriate. God is calling me to a steadfastness rather than a temporary restraint. I must not waver if I am to follow Jesus by loving my neighbour! Now more than ever I need the Fruit of the Spirit, especially of love, patience, and long suffering.
Covid provides me an opportunity to develop just such fruit. In doing so I will become more like Jesus! This is an occasion for God to refine me. If I treat it as an annoyance and chafe in frustration, I will miss a glorious chance! This time calls for another kind of patience; another level of patience all together.
This is no ‘paper cut’ or ‘slight head bump’ this is an opportunity like I have never had before. Fruit of the Spirit cannot be forced but it does naturally, or better supernaturally, occur when I sink my roots deeply into God and his Word. It seems this is an opportunity to resist being conformed by circumstances but instead to be transformed as God renews my mind and attitude.
Joseph testimony rings true that what was intended for evil purpose God intends for our good, and his glory. I want to cooperate in that! How about you?