I don’t know about you but I have the patience of a strobe light especially checking out in a grocery line. Actually, I don’t do well waiting for a cup of coffee. Come to think of it, traffic jams and red lights and freight trains crawling along with the annoying blinking gates makes me say strange things in the car—even though I am by myself.
You catch the drift.
So, I tell myself I am not good at patience. It’s an excuse. Yet, do I really want to be defined as an impatient person? Think for a moment about the characteristics of an impatient person—stressed, anxious, worried, perhaps a little trouble with anger management. Patience is a virtue. It is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Be careful with patience.
Having a vision for a virtuous, whole and healthy life is really the name of the game. Christians have an innate vision of an eternal destiny found in the kingdom of God. Contrary to public belief, however, this vision is given to us not when we die but when we come alive in Christ. Vision it is not about eyesight but insight. It helps us look into such matters as character, moral and ethical development and all the benevolent forces standing in sharp contrast to vices. Vices will kill you. With virtues you only die to the old way of life but rise to something new.
Hanging in my office is a copy of the painting by Frank Wesley titled, Jesus Healing the Leper. Frank is no relation to the Methodist, John or Charles. Frank Wesley was a fifth generation Christian in India who gained acceptance and eventually international prominence after being asked by the family to paint and decorate the urn for the remains of Mahatma Gandhi. Leprosy runs rampant in India. Well, so does COVID-19. Here is the point: healing is more than a band-aid.
Physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, eternal healing, are all on the table. Healing is derived from the same word as wholeness. It is also another word for save (diasozo). I have no problem saying “Jesus is my healer.” I have learned over the years a great deal about healing and the need for endurance and the power of endurance especially in the midst of suffering. No question, Jesus “endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2) Of course, the leper sat on the outskirts of the city and endured suffering while sitting under a tree (Luke 5:12-16).
I’m not in the same company when it comes to endurance. What I have learned however, is a virtue is given to us as needed. For some it is like rocket-fuel. For others, it is just a matter of breathing. Spiritual growth occurs when one virtue compliments and reveals another virtue. For example, endurance reveals the need for patience. You know, “love endures all things” and you probably also know “love is patient” (I Corinthians 13). One virtue begets another. From my experience endurance reveals patience. The two work together. And for those of us who are still hanging on to hope, be assured, we wait with patience.