Patience is a quiet one. A mother watching “Frozen” with her child for the 100th time, an athlete waiting for an injury to heal, a worker sitting in traffic on his way to the office. However, impatience is often more noticeable. Fussy customers waiting in line at the grocery store, drivers honking their horns in traffic, a parent yelling at their child.
Having patience means being able to wait calmly. Patience is the ability to endure difficult circumstances. Patience is the ability to resist responding in anger when faced with frustration or adversity. Sounds easier said than done, right? Everyday life will no doubt provide you with ample opportunities to practice the virtue of patience.
As I was doing some self-reflecting, I felt pretty proud of the level of patience I’ve had throughout my life…well, that is until I planted a garden! Talking about PATIENCE! Planting seeds in small trays, WAITING for germination to appear, THEN replant in the garden, only to then WAIT longer for tiny vegetables to pop out of the soil. This became a teachable moment in patience.
Radishes are fast growing, fast producing vegetables. They were the first seed planted in my garden this year and should have been the first to harvest. Key words “should have”. Every morning, I would go out and lift the stems up to see any signs of the red, crunchy root veggie. Weeks passed and nothing. Then, one morning I lifted the leaves up and there it was! One single radish peeping out. I knew in my heart it wasn’t ready to be harvested but the excitement got the best of me. I decided to pull it up out of the dirt. The tiny dime-size radish was definitely premature. I felt horrible.
A few days passed and while opening my computer to send an email to one of our vendors, I noticed my daily Turning Point with David Jeremiah email. After sending my email, I went back to read Dr. Jeremiah’s teaching. It was from James 5:8 ~ You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
When societies were agrarian, children grew up learning about how things grow. They learned that some crops grow underground—like potatoes, beets, carrots, garlic, radishes—and must be pulled out of the ground when harvested. More than one impatient child over the years has made the mistake of pulling a tiny plant out of the ground prematurely because, “I wanted to see how well it was growing!” A lesson in patience soon followed.
The New Testament’s world was agrarian; it is filled with illustrations related to agriculture. The apostle James used such an illustration when writing about Christ’s Second Coming. His exhortation was for his readers to be patient—just as the farmer has to wait for his “precious fruit . . . until it receives the early and latter rain” (James 5:7). Only then is the harvest ready. But such waiting is not idle waiting. It is anticipatory, preparatory, and proactive. And so is our waiting for the return of Christ.
Our preparation involves standing firm, establishing and keeping our hearts in faith, our hands busy with the Lord’s work. As we patiently, but actively, wait for the harvest, so we wait for Jesus’ return. ~ Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Point
After reading this, I knew it was a teachable moment for me. Even though I thought I was mastering this “patience” thing, I had some work to do. I’ve learned that it’s a lifelong spiritual practice that has to be just that…practiced. God helps us along the way by speaking to us through everyday tasks (like gardening), circumstances and even hardships. Patience is a gift when given or received and will move us closer to God. Today, practice patience by thinking of Christ before reacting. Practice kindness. Practice gratitude.
Wait for the harvest.