“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
The old joke goes like this: I want to be patient, and I want to be patient right now!
Of course we need patience, but patience can only be acquired by learning. Patience is never acquired immediately.
I looked up the word “patience” in the dictionary when I was studying this chapter of 1 Corinthians. I was somewhat surprised at the meaning. Patience means enduring pain or trouble without complaining, refusing to be angered by an insult and being able to wait calmly without losing self-control.
This definition was startling to me because of what it means for my life. If I want to love my family, I must be patient and wait calmly for God to improve their character without losing my self-control.
That is a hard assignment for me. It is an impossible one for me to accomplish on my own. It may mean waiting as God develops their character, rather than insisting they change immediately. It may also mean exercising self-control when anger would threaten to overtake me.
I love to complain, to get sympathy from others, and to air my feelings. But as I read this I wonder, “Can I be patient and still complain? Can I be patient and still get my feelings hurt? Can I be patient and still lose my temper?”
I am glad for the promises of the Bible. God says He will help us to live for Him. My hope is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Kimberly Snider is a missionary to the Philippines.
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