I’m not as patient as I thought I was, and I’m about to share two different events that made me realize 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 that I concerned myself with because I thought I already developed it. Christian and I dated long distance for three years (1,095 days to be exact). How could I do that if I weren’t patient, right? Boy oh boy, was I naive.
One day Christian had to run a few errands and I stayed home with my son CJ. For the first time, it was just us two at home alone. 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. The patience that I thought I had quickly worn out.
The second event that happened was actually a series of things that literally shook the weak foundations of my patience, but at the same time 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. I had terrible customer service at a restaurant, ran late for an event in bumper to bumper traffic, got overheated in the sun while putting together a trampoline for my little brother, and to put the cherry on top, the AC unit decided to go out when we got back home to Mississippi. 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.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
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 and forging. It’s something that has to be perfected in you over and over again. No matter how much patience you think you have, 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 newborn baby girl: Claire Bella Sargent. And, since she’s made her arrival, my now two-year-old son has found his voice and all he does is run around the house screaming and making noise with his toy cars. It’s adorable.
Remember, longsuffering isn’t just a notch on the belt. Patience is a characteristic that never stops evolving.
Has your patience been tested lately? How did you handle it?