by Michael DiMuccio
Have you ever heard someone say, “don’t pray for patience …” and wondered what they meant? The conclusion is evident; God just may orchestrate circumstances that will corner you into a place of exercising the patience for which you are praying!
All too often we think our growth in patience is going to be a mysterious “something” which we go through that somehow strips impatience from our lives. Further, we tend to personalize this in a way that includes only self and, indirectly, excludes those whom God has placed in our lives.
We may also rehearse the passage in which the Apostle Paul exclaims that we are “seated in heavenly realms” (Eph. 2:6). This inclines us to muse, “I ought to be patient with my growth in the things of God; he sees me seated in heaven, so it is just a matter of walking it out.”
In considering these thoughts, I have come to a new twist on the ever-elusive subject called patience …
If I am to grow in patience, while remembering that I must be patient with myself (for, I am seated in those heavenly places), then perhaps an opportunity for growing in patience is for me to be patient with others.
What happens when we fail in some way in our life? We tend to extend a whole lot of grace toward ourselves, don’t we? We quote the verses that reinforce God’s love for us, and that He will complete the work He has started in us (Philippians 1:6). We may even mentally build ourselves up by repeating phrases such as, “I am a work in progress” and “I can do all things …”
Yet, when those around us fail (or even fail to act at all), or fall short from meeting an expectation, what kind of grace do we extend them? What kinds of phrases do we speak about those “saints of the Most High?” In addition, what prayers do we offer on their behalf?
To love, as expressed in patience, goes beyond how much I can love myself; rather, it really speaks to how much I can love others with a patient heart. Imagine if, when others let us down, we looked for the hidden blessing within it. Imagine that hidden blessing is how we are now going to trust God and, in essence, have the work of patience manifest in us.
If God sees me in heavenly places, and I am yet to “get there,” then I must realize He sees others in just the same way. If He is giving them the same grace He is giving me, then I should also extend the same grace to them. This is love worked out in an expression of patience. I am patient with my neighbor’s growth, for I am to “love them as I love myself.”
After all, when I miss an expectation or fall short of a mark, I would expect them to realize I am not perfect. Hence, I now look at this patience thing as something where I am cognizant of those around me needing as much grace as I do.
What is love? God is love. Love is patient. Therefore, God is patient. He is patient with me. He is patient with you. Let us let the work of love, expressed in patience, be perfected in our everyday, practical living.
Let us remember, patience is not mysteriously going to happen. It will happen when we see others seated in heavenly places as well as seeing them in need of ongoing grace. We all need patience and, therefore, we all need to extend it.
* Michael DiMuccio serves on the Administrative Staff of Christian Care Ministry and specializes in Live Events logistics. His background is in pastoring & productions. He resides in Indialantic, Fla.