"A man’s (woman's) wisdom gives him/her patience; it is to his/her glory to overlook an offense." (Proverbs 19:11, NIV) [emphasis added]
If you google the definition for patience or for those who prefer to look in Merriam Webster's dictionary, you will not find my picture there. Look as long as you want; I'll wait. I am not patient. Man, it hurts to admit that!! Apparently, I am not alone in the plight to find waiting to be a virtue. Yesterday I traveled down sixth street and saw the traffic light was red. A car had pulled far past the "Stop here on red" sign and I figured they might be trying the turn right on red maneuver. This intersection is a "No turn on red" during certain hours of the day. Here though, the time to turn right was acceptable.
As I glided toward the big white line on the street that designates our stop position, I watched the car turn on their left signal and pull through the intersection on the red light and go on their merry way. I think I said something out loud like, "Wait. What are you doing?" I laughed out loud and muttered something like, "Oh boy, you are one crazy person. Hope you get to your destination safely." I would give them the gold medal for aggressive driving! There were no four way flashers, no horn beeping, and no fast acceleration to signify an emergency. They grew tired of waiting. Technically speaking they used a red light just like a stop sign. Wonder if that argument would hold up in court? Or, did they exercise the new PA rule that allows one to pull through a red light if you discern the light to be malfunctioning?
The light turned green and I proceeded on through the intersection and headed home. I began pondering how many times I have sat at a red light and wanted to blow on through it. I reasoned, "nobody is coming in any other direction, I'm late, no one will know." I have uttered harsh words of grumpiness toward those red lights that stay red too long. I have even suspected a diabolical plot by the town or municipality to make red lights longer just so I have to wait (I also once saw people walking around on the Jupiter). How childish have I been and what did I look like acting like a belligerent grump?
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12, NIV)
I need these kinds of clothes. I need compassion that covers my uncaring nature. I need kindness when I really want to biff obnoxious folk. I long for humility that covers over the rooster named Randy that struts around. To have gentleness overtake the harshness that boils just underneath the surface would be great. Finally, patience needs to overwhelm my desire to always have things yesterday.
How about you? Are you fully clothed with God's good gifts, or do you struggle in certain areas? Given the long suffering nature of God, you and I stand a real good chance of gaining some mighty fine apparel -- if we are willing to seek godly clothes and if we are patient.
Oh Lord, I am a sinner that fails to do your will and wear the fine clothes you provide, forgive me. Refresh your Spirit within me and prepare the way before me today. Amen.