15 Feb 2016
As we unpack what Henry Drummond wrote in his essay on Love entitled; The Greatest Thing in the World, we begin with Patience. Other words that describe Patience are: long-suffering, perseverance, tolerance and persistence. It is probably fair to assume that Patience is the least popular of all the virtues Paul lists in 1 Corinthians 13, the treatise on Love.
It is unpopular because it flies into the face of our action-oriented society and lifestyles today. We want to make things happen, take the bull by the horns and see results. And yet Paul places Patience at the forefront of his list of Love’s virtues. Maybe because it is the most disliked and the most difficult and the most powerful when successfully mastered into our lives.
According to Drummond, Patience is Love, passive. No outward actions are required to demonstrate its power. Yet powerful it is. It is not difficult to answer the bell in a crisis, when people are watching. But it takes a special, Love-driven virtue called Patience to hold steady, persevere to the end when the crowds are gone, the results are meager and the cause is just. Love-driven Patience can be a mother’s faithful prayers for a wayward son or daughter or a husband patiently watching over his ailing wife praying faithfully for healing…Love passive.
To begin to successfully inculcate Patience into our characters we must first recognize how patient God is with us. Many of us love to gloss over our own flaws and deny they exist to the extent that they obviously do (ask your spouses). When we are a bit honest with ourselves we recognize how patient God is with us and our character deflects. This appreciation gives a dose of humility that spreads to the benefit of others around us. For as we are aware of our own shortcomings, we then can look at our cantankerous neighbors, belligerent bosses and others who are annoying, arrogant and hard to deal with in a new light.
And, we must acknowledge the sovereignty of our Lord over our lives. His plans are perfect, His timing sure…but it will be His timing. Sometimes our impatience is an outgrowth of our anxiety over current events in our lives. That fretfulness being a direct by-product of a heart that fears that “God won’t get it right.” Patience is a firm, steadfast belief that God will get it right, in His timing and through His patient love for us. Clothe yourself in passive Love this month…Patience.