Thursday, December 27, 2012

Patience

Kayla and Sandra
Merry Christmas! I know I'm a couple of days after the fact, but I pray Christmas goes on in our hearts every day. The last few days, we've been singing Christmas carols around the house, and lately, our younger girls have been also singing, "Jesus loves me" in Creole. "Jezi renmen mwen... Bib la di mwen konsa." For one, I'm glad they're paying attention and picking up on the language even while we're still in the States. But it has also been a reminder that I'm getting impatient. I can't wait for when my girls can be singing that song alongside of Haitian kids. I can't wait until the kids can be learning the language by immersion. I can't wait until I'm done preparing to go and can actually get to the going... I am impatient.
Our lives are not just about the destination. It is equally about the journey. But we get so impatient with the journey that we're rarely fully prepared for the destination even by the time we get there. And patience is not an easy thing to teach. It's something that you just need practice doing. In our society, we have gotten out of practice in this area. Everything is immediate. If it's not, we move on, not "wasting" our time waiting. What's more, is that the times when patience is practiced, it is motivated by selfish reasons. Sure, we'll wait outside of Walmart for hours, so that we can get the best deals for Christmas, but we get frustrated waiting 15 minutes for someone to show up to our appointment.
As I look at 1 Corinthians 13, Paul chose to begin describing love by saying, "Love is patient..." Patience should be a regular practice in our relations with each other. I read in a book by Henry Cloud (I believe it was called "9 Things You Absolutely Must Do") that one of the principles you should live by in life is to NOT play fair. At first, my reaction was to scowl. Dr. Cloud describes a business deal gone wrong where the other party said something to effect of "Do your part and I'll do mine. Don't mess with me and I won't mess with you. But if you cross me, you'll be sorry." Sounds pretty typical and it's fair. Jesus calls us to be unfair. Even when the other person messes up, that's when they need you to hold up your end and then some. God demonstrates this in His promises to us. We've been going through the Old Testament the last few weeks at our home church and seen God's desire to redeem us, in spite of the fact that we continually mess things up! God still always upholds His end of the covenant/promise and then more. He is patient with us. He also calls us to be patient with each other.
As a parent, I realize I need to give my children opportunities to practice being patient - and to practice being patient for others. That's not easy. It's easier to give in quickly so that they stop complaining or whining or whatever. But if we do, we're setting them up for failure. They need to learn (just as I do!) that we're not on our own time, but on God's. Sometimes He hurries us along, and sometimes He requires us to wait. Teach them that life is also about the journey to the destination and not just the goal. What is God teaching them? What is God teaching you? He is teaching me that I am not as patient as I thought I was...

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