Tuesday, April 20, 2010

IOW: Contentment, or How God Teaches Patience

“If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery;
if stupid people fret me and little ruffles set me on edge;
if I make much of the trifles of life,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
Amy Carmichael, If: What Do I Know of Calvary Love?
Patience: the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient... (according to Merriam-Webster)

Patient 1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint...
I remember thinking about my short temper as an older teenager and praying for patience. Less than ten years from that prayer, I was the mother of three children ages 5, 3, and newborn. So I prayed more...
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you  may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV)
Patient 2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain...
My husband joined US Air Force Recruiting while I was pregnant with baby number 2--baby number 1 was only 20 months old. We began a life of packing, moving to a new abode, unpacking, and trying to keep a normal life...every 2-1/2 to 3 years. My patience was sorely tested throughout those years and many times I failed my tests miserably. In fact, I developed a level of harshness to my interactions with my kids and husband when I was annoyed.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge. (2 Peter 1:5 NIV)
Patient 3: not hasty or impetuous...
Eventually the preschooler, toddler, and infant years ended. Those kids grew like weeds and suddenly I was parenting 2 teens and a middle-schooler. At this point in my husband's Air Force career, I felt I was parenting all alone as he was away two weeks at a time, with only short periods at home. At my husband's last duty station, he was gone 33 times in 21 months. I coped by bouncing between being the kids best friend and being overbearing, trying to maintain some semblance of control.
And to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness. (2 Peter 1:6 NIV)
Patient 4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity...
All the while life was moving along with some measure of peace. I studied my Bible, read book after book on being a woman of God. Sometimes I succeeded, especially during several severe trials. When those trials came up I felt the Lord right along side me.
And to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:7 NIV)
Patient 5: able or willing to bear...
I have developed a great appreciation for the love of God through the years of watching my family grow. He shows patience with my frailties and strengthens me to be available to stand firmly in Him. His patience with me has taught me patience with others. Not that I always demonstrate what I have learned. And when I reminded, He sends a new test...
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8 NIV)
Patient (Persistent) 6: continuing despite difficulties, opposition, or discouragement...
Our kids are grown and we have been blessed with a rambunctious grandson. And to prove 1) either I didn't learn what I needed to the first go-around, or 2) God has a huge sense of humor, I have been raising that little guy since last August 24 hours a day during the week. My only relief comes when his mother is home on the weekends. And amazingly enough, I am having to learn to ignore all the things that set me off the first time around and try to show love in everything I do. Evidently I didn't quite score high enough on those tests...or I'm working on my Master's degree in the applied science of Christian Love.
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. (1 Peter 1:12 NIV)
God is Good. Life is Sweet. Share the Love.

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