Recently I have received several letters and cards from friends who I have known for over 70 years but not seen for a long time, handwriten in a style that I recognise from my childhood. We keep in touch by letter because we are now too far apart to visit each other regularly. It is sheer pleasure to open what I know will be not only a beautifully handwritten letter but one that is full of interest.
Of course, we have tried to keep up with electronic devices over the years and have found this increasingly important as younger generations seem to use them more frequently and sometimes almost exclusively. We appreciate change if we can keep pace with what might be beneficial. Constant patience is needed if we are not to fall by the wayside.
What is patience? The Oxford Dictionary identifies patience as The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. While I have been trying to write this article, I have already been interrupted five times, so I do need to know!
Scripture helps us when it says...
Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. [Galatians 6 verse 9 - NKJV]
There are many examples in scripture urging us to be patient until the coming of the Lord" James chapter 5, verse 11 reminds the early Christian believers in this way...
Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.
Reading the Book of Job shows that his sufferings were almost insurmountable: loss of family, lands and hope for the future. He did not blame God but managed to pull through all his troubles to start again and faithfully worship God.
A thread of patience runs right through scripture; in Hebrews chapter 11, there is a comprehensive list of faithful people ranging from Abel to Rahab. The writer then continues...
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak and of Samson and of Jephthae, of David also and Samuel and of the prophets.
The chapter concludes...
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith received not the promises; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us may not be made perfect.
The better thing was seen in the life and teachings of Jesus, the source of guidance and hope to those who believe in God as they live out their faithful and patient witness.
In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul writes that faith, hope and love (charity) are the hallmarks of true belief in Christ. Patient waiting for the return of Christ will be rewarded to those who followed his example .
If we are to benefit from God’s blessings, do we agree that exercising patience is essential for a productive daily life?