PATIENCE – A DIVINE VIRTUE

Little Betsy went with her grandfather to the orchard one holiday. As she looked up in awe at the tall strong trees hovering all around, she expressed her wish to plant a tree in her name which would be exclusively hers. Her grandpa smiled and said, “Sweetheart, you don’t plant a tree. You plant a seed or a tender sapling which in the course of many years of sun, rain and hail grows up sturdy into a tree like one of these.”

The virtue of Patience is best tested in situations provoking impatience.

One statement which quite a few first-time moms often make about their baby is, “How I wish s/he grows up soon!” You would know it, if you’ve been there!!

Students wish for disciplined school days to be over soon so that they can experience the liberty of the colourful college days!

A couple in love wish they could seal their courtship in marriage without having to wait any further.

An ailing bed-ridden man wishes his days of suffering would cease soon.

In such and many other ways, all of us wish we never had to wait for something that we desire. However, whether we want to or not, we all have our seasons of waiting.

When we wait with calmness of mind and spirit to let the opportune time arrive, all the while trusting that God Almighty is in control, we learn and acquire the virtue of Patience. But when we fume and fret during the phase of waiting, blaming people, situations or God for the delay, we fail to have an audience with Patience.

Waiting requires Patience as its companion. Patience doesn’t announce its arrival. But as the phase of waiting is over, Patience leaves its seal behind.

DOES PATIENCE ALWAYS RESULT IN JOYOUS OUTCOMES?

We often say – ‘Sweet is the fruit of patience.’ However, this is not always so.

I heard of a couple recently who were without a child even after many years of marriage. When the lady conceived after more than ten years, their joy was unexplainable. They had waited prayerfully and patiently all these years. The lady went into labour while in her eighth month. Alas! She delivered a stillborn baby. This suffering was more severe than the pain of not having a child for more than a decade.

Can we exclaim confidently in such a circumstance – ‘Sweet is the fruit of Patience?’

A young father of a two-year old was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 33. He kept his hopes strong even as he underwent sessions of chemotherapy. He posted several vlogs giving honest updates about his health condition and encouraging all to keep praying for him patiently with faith. His wife waited patiently for God to intervene never losing her calmness. Everything came to an end when he breathed his last at the age of 34, last year.

Here again, can we exclaim boldly – ‘Sweet is the fruit of Patience?’

It’s tough.

Yet, it’s a necessary virtue.

WHY TALK ABOUT PATIENCE, THEN?

Let’s weigh the odds.

What do we gain when we are patient?

The biggest gain is peace – peace of mind and peace in the surrounding. Being peaceful ensures that we can handle our tasks with greater competence and ease – be it regarding the person/circumstance provoking impatience or other tasks during that testing phase. Patience leads to acquiring another remarkable virtue – perseverance – which is a higher form of patience. Patience generates hope and hope, it is said, springs eternal in the human breast.

What do we lose when we are patient?

We may lose time owing to inaction. But, any action or reaction done/shown in haste carries with it a possibility of regret. We may lose face before others, who may think that we are not courageous/wise/skilled enough to act/respond. I guess the list end here – we don’t have much to lose when we are patient.

So, why not strive to be patient!  

HOW I PRACTISE PATIENCE?

When I come across people who really put me through tough tests of patience, I consciously bring to my mind how patient God is with me. Being perfect and holy, when He sees me falling short of His standards, again and again, seeking forgiveness yet stumbling again – He doesn’t deal with me as my sins deserve. He is patiently working on my transformation. If the God of the universe is so patient with me, who am I to be impatient with a fellow human being?

Patience is a divine virtue. It cannot be acquired simply by sheer willpower, meditation or motivation. Since Patience is one of the important attributes of God’s character, He alone can embed this attribute into our spirits. It may sound vague and too abstract for some, but you would know it if you tap into this resource.

I make it a constant point of prayer for God to help develop this attribute of His nature within me which would enable me to reflect Him in tough situations and amidst tough people.

And yes, nature. Right from a tiny seed/sapling growing into a tree to a caterpillar metamorphosing into a pretty butterfly, the created nature gives marvellous lessons on patient waiting.

As I write this article, I can hear my sister in the kitchen telling the microwave oven to cook the bowl of Maggie Noodles that she has just put inside, within a second, without making her wait unto starvation!! Patience!!