When the kids were little we used to sing a little patience song with them.
Have patience. Have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient you only start to worry.
Remember. Remember. That God is patient too.
And think of all the times that others had to wait for you.
Even now when I type these words it brings back memories of the occasional use of the song as they were growing up. It was to instill in our kids that life is too short to fuss, worry and hurry. Take a deep breath and realize that waiting a few moments for someone or something isn’t go to kill us.
Sometimes though, I need to sing the song to myself. When I have a huge list of things to accomplish during the day and “things” are just slowing me down, I don’t always exhibit the best patience. There are days when even my computer, “Ruby,” seems out to try my patience with her slow internet speeds and lost files. And don’t even get me started on other people in their cars driving slowly down the road when I have somewhere to be.
I think the second line of this song is what hits me the most. When I can’t – or won’t – have patience in a situation, then that’s when it goes from a little annoyance to a big worry. And worry is what starts to challenge my faith.
In the book of Luke, chapter 12, Jesus is speaking to his disciples about dealing with life and the things of the world. He mentions that they should not be anxious about their life, food, drink, body, clothing…for all their worry is for naught. God who made the fields and the birds will provide everything needed in His time and by His love. He goes on to say that worrying really isn’t going to change anything. The answer is found in verse 31,
“Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”
Wow! You mean I can stop worrying about things that I have no control over anyway…and instead if I focus my attention on Him and His kingdom, it will all work out? Yes!
I recently returned from two weeks in Germany and Austria. In all my travels in various parts of the world, I think the one common theme that I see in other cultures (except on the autobahn) is the thought that we need to all slow down, take a deep breath, take time to “smell the roses.” Make time to enjoy life. Stop worrying so much. If you’ve ever enjoyed a great evening meal in Germany and then waited for the check to pay, you know exactly what I’m talking about. My husband joined me on my travel in Europe this time, and the dinnertime “waiting to pay” was the hardest thing for him to adjust to. No matter how many times you look at your watch or fiddle with your wallet, the server is just not going to come and accept your payment any faster. He had places he wanted to go and things to see and do….and it’s just not a big deal to the German people. Relax. Have another cup of coffee, or a piece of cake. Chat with your friends and family. Take a deep breath and have patience.
In Puerto Rico, we called it operating on “island time.” Which means, if the museum is supposed to open at 10:00, showing up at 9:40 and standing in line, while tapping your foot, isn’t going to make it open any faster. And, if you are lucky, they might open at 10:30.
Patience is one of those virtues listed in the development of our character in Romans 5 (The Message Bible),
“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
Wow again! I love the way this is stated. We can’t even find enough cups to hold all the blessings that God bestows upon us…but first…we have to have patience. As for me, I’m going to take a deep breath and just have another cup of coffee…and patiently wait. How about you?