I’m not as patient as I thought I was and I’m about to share two different occasions when I fully realized this.
The first event was having a son. I’ve always known that having children requires a great deal of patience because I helped raise my younger sister and nieces. So, when my wife, Christian, and I were expecting Cortney, Jr., patience wasn’t something I concerned myself with. I thought I already developed it. I mean, Christian and I dated long-distance for 3 years (1,095 days to be exact). How could I do that if I weren’t patient, right? Oh boy was I naive.
One day Christian had to leave home to run a few errands and I stayed home with my son CJ. I need to add this was the first time. Little did I know, he obviously wasn’t in a good mood that day because he screamed his face off for two straight hours. No exaggeration. To my surprise, my patience wore thin within minutes. I’m not sure how you feel about a crying baby, but there was something about my screaming son that made me feel incapable of being a father. I was so frustrated and tired that the only thing I could do was pray and wait for Christian to get home. That day I realized I’m not as patient as I thought I was.
The second event that happened was actually a series of things that literally shook the weak foundations of my patience, but it simultaneously built my confidence in God’s work in me.
One hot July weekend I took my family on a four-hour road trip to Atlanta for my father to meet CJ for the first time. From the onset of the trip, I quickly learned that the entire weekend ahead was a test of my patience.
Although it turned out to be an awesome weekend, I went through a lot– from having terrible customer service at a restaurant, running late for an event in bumper to bumper traffic, getting overheated in the sun while putting together a trampoline for my little brother, and, after finally getting back home to Mississippi, the AC unit decided to die. The only thing that kept me from pulling out my hair was God telling me that He was forging my patience through the things we went through that weekend. I reflected on Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
As the Bible outlines in Galatians 5:22, longsuffering (aka patience) is a fruit of the spirit. That means it isn’t something that comes overnight without testing/forging. It’s something that has to be perfected in you over and over again. No matter how much you think you’re patient, be open to God using the small things of life to perfect His work in you.
I know this now more than ever because Christian and I recently had a baby girl–Claire Bella Sargent. And, since she’s made her arrival, my now 2-year-old son has found his voice and all he does is run around the house screaming and making noise with his toy cars. Lol. It’s adorable.
Remember, longsuffering isn’t just a notch on the belt. Patience is a characteristic that never stops evolving.