Faithlife
Faithlife

Patience

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Definition

Patience is a feature of character that allows us to go through chaotic situations without collapsing, allows us to educate our children without yelling and allows us to accept our coworkers without getting depressed, among many other things.

It is very interesting to know that the origin of the word patience is the Latin root pati that means to suffer. In fact the participle patiens was introduced into English as patient (in the hospitals) or "the one that suffers." Thus the same word recalls us that the patience implies suffering, though that suffering is accepted with dignity expecting a greater reward that will come, whether with the simple passage of time, with the perseverance, or with the correct activity at the correct moments.

It is important to notice that patience does not mean only to wait until the situation change or until somebody else does what it has to be done. It would be very easy, and a part of the human nature too, to blame someone else for everything negative that happens to us. Patience is the quality of tolerate or support pain or accept difficulties without complaints.

We will review the characteristic of patience in the three circumstances previously mentioned: the simple passing of time, the perseverance and to choose the correct activity at the correct moment.


Patience in slow moments
Have you ever been despaired with the bureaucracy of certain institutions? Have you ever had the "opportunity" to expect long time in lines in order to be attended? Have you ever had to attack your own boredom or that of your children in long trips? Those are all moments in which patience should defeat uneasiness.

We must understand that "bureaucracy" is not evil by itself, in fact was introduced in the administrative science as an element of organization and control. Without that uncomfortable "paperwork", an organization quickly would not know where its incomes came from, how to reproduce a particular process in absence of the actual leader, or how to control the expenses. We must understand then that the bureaucracy has a reason to exist and we must be kind when dealing with her.

Aside from understanding we also can use some creativity in order to convert the waiting moments into useful moments. Carry with you a book or some of your to-do issues (nowadays you can take a computer in a small briefcase) the next time that you have to face the bureaucracy, have to stay in line at the bank, have to expend some time at the waiting room of the doctor, to a trip, etc. Invent games with your children with words, numbers, etc.

The farmers know that the time between the sowing and the crop is not for laziness, it is a time to fertilize, to weed, to fix machinery, etc. One must take advantage of the apparent "dead time".

Patience as perseverance
It is said that Robert Bruce defeated England to free his country Scotland from its yoke, but only after many and painful defeats. He always had the patience to assimilate the blow, to raise a new army, to fight again, to be defeated, to assimilate the blow, etc. A cycle that was not interrupted until Bruce achieved the final victory and could reign in Scotland.

We can apply this, so much to this King, as to a football team that, after been blown out several times, perseveres until achieves the championship, to a student that finally gets his or her degree, or to an employee that finally is recognized as "faithful servant".

Patience as the correct activity at the correct moment.
When "we are at the nick of time" we tend to despair, to irritate, to shout and to generate a terrible chaos without reaching any meaningful results. This is also a moment for the patience. Again, it doesn’t have to be a matter of expecting for a solution to "fall from the sky", though we can pray and ask for divine help, we still also have to face the problem. Gideon, David, and other heroes from the Bible that received God’s help, still had to go to the battle.

The crew members of the Apollo 13th, when their ship suffered damage, could hit the walls with their heads, could curse the mission, could tear their suits and still have the same problem. They had the patience to request aid, to comment the alternatives and to work in a solution that could improve their odds even when time was scurrying among their hands. They did the correct thing with patience.

Source of the patience.
The good news is that to achieve this feature, we have the aid of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 says that the patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We are not alone, we can pray that God provides us with His Spirit so we can be rewarded with this fabulous feature of Christ’s character: the Patience.

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