I used to consider myself a patient person, but the other day while I was waiting for someone to help me at Walmart, I realized that maybe I’m not so patient after all.
Because I had my cell phone to keep me busy while I waited (equipped with Facebook, email, etc.), and since I wasn’t in a hurry because I had nowhere else to be, I was pretty much fine with waiting right there until the cows came home. I was so entertained with my phone that I almost forgot that I was waiting for someone to help me! It’s easy to be “patient” under those circumstances. I guess that’s patience on some surface level, or it could just be a lack of impatience by way of an entertaining distraction. But it’s certainly not the supernatural fruit of the Holy Spirit God-sized kind of patience.
That kind of patience might look something like this: You have to be at an appointment in 10 minutes, but first, you have to stop by Walmart to pick up one thing that you forgot that happens to be crucial to this meeting. Your career (and subsequent living) depends on you making it to this meeting on time. As you sprint to the 20 items or less “express” check out, a lady with an overfilled grocery cart mindlessly meanders in line in front of you. She has three small children. One is crying loudly, one is pulling stuff off the shelves, and the other one, for some odd reason, is staring at you with a mysterious intensity. On top of all of that, the woman can’t find her debit card. She’s frantically searching through her purse, apologizing profusely to the growing line of people behind her. This is where we find another level of patience. Most people will give a little bit of grace (for a short time) to a person who realizes they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, inconveniencing the masses.
Then it hits you. You are going to be late. There’s absolutely no hope of making the meeting on time. Your life has been irrevocably altered by this one person. At this point, you have a choice, and whatever is in you will come out. Will it be the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of the flesh? Will you give grace or will your heart beat out of your chest as you get ready to give her a piece of your mind? But what comes out of your mouth next surprises even you. You say these words of reassuring grace, “You know, it’s all good. We all have bad days now and then. Don’t worry about this, let me help you.” You begin to help pick up the things the child has thrown on the ground, you start making funny faces at the staring child, causing her to smile, and you begin to pray for peace for the crying baby, Mom, the cashier, and all those people behind you who may or may not have also had their lives ruined by this event.
Do you see what God did there?
That’s His fruit coming out of YOU! Just in that scenario alone wesaw6outofthe9kindsofthe Holy Spirit’s fruit listed in Galatians 5 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self control). When we allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be revealed through us, we literally change the atmosphere around us.
That’s all well and good, but you are sure your job is lost. But wait, haven’t you just obeyed the God of the universe and allowed His Holy Spirit to work through you? By His power and by your choice, you have just brought peace to a raging storm in the life of another. Do you think God will now throw you under the bus? No way. In fact, we see throughout the Bible that blessings, of one kind or another, will always follow obedience to God. You, my friend, will reap what you have sown today. Because the law of sowing and reaping doesn’t just pertain to negative actions, it also applies to the good things we do for others.
God-sized patience doesn’t need a smart phone to make it work. It just needs a willing, trusting in God under immense pressure, fruit-bearing, yielded servant of the most high God.
Will that be you today?
Thanks so much for reading!