For this week’s post I felt the Lord wanted me to write about patience. Patience is not a natural character quality that people own, but rather one we must all learn, me included. And what must we do to obtain such a costly quality? The Bible says that one of the results of going through tribulation is the well earned fruit of the spirit, patience. (See Romans 5:3)
Whether I am weeding the garden, keeping house, cooking supper or running down the road, the more I can focus on Jesus and His power, the easy it will be to push forward. We can’t come across a new goal one day of replacing heel striking with mid-foot striking and expect to change that habit overnight. Just as we can’t have a goal of losing twenty pounds and expect to lose it within twenty-four hours. It takes determination, diligence, perseverance, and patience. Neither can we have a goal of overcoming negative thoughts and expect to resolve them within a few days. Not only do we need God’s mercy and grace, we must be patient as He grows and changes us. We must rely on His truth, His faithfulness and His love. Remember how long it takes for a seed you plant in the ground to come up and then produce fruit. Consider a fruit tree. You plant that seed and it takes years before it produces any fruit.
Here is a short example from my running experience:
After a few years of running, I had fallen in love with it. It was something I looked forward to. Something that only took a small chunk out of the twenty-four hours God gave me each day. It gave me energy and filled me with zeal to tackle the rest of the day.
May 2019 came. As some of you know, I joined a 5k a day challenge and loved (almost) every minute of it. The last week of May rolled in and I hit a mental plateau in my running that lasted for weeks after that. During those days I started dreading my runs and even began to feel like I hated running in and of it-self. I determined to keep pushing forward. I kept hearing about how the hardest part of a runners’ life is getting out the door and I had never understood this phrase until now. I hoped and prayed that this fog would pass over me.
Eventually the day came were God gave me the strength to run eight miles with only a slight brake in the middle and it felt like I finally broke through the haze over me and entered the light on the other side. Every run after that was enjoyable again. But… it took patience. I had to rely on God for the strength to help me push through each struggle, but it was well worth it!
Here is another example, but this one is from my personal life:
I am an avid writer and would almost choose that over running most days. One year I received a new laptop for Christmas. It was awesome and I was so excited! My old laptop had to be plugged in 24/7 and sometimes had to have a fan on it to keep it cool. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the wifi quite working on it so it had to be unplugged from my desk and taken to the internet router to be online and the speed seemed like it dropped to zero, so every time you typed on it, it could be two lines behind you, so you could barely even see what you were typing unless you waited thirty seconds after every sentence.
The new laptop was amazing! I used it constantly. Till one day in the year 2015, I left it on top of the fabric case protector, charging while it played music. Later that day, it had burned up the plug! Oh no, now what was I to do? At some point my dad had opened it up and sure enough a piece on the inside was melted as well. I was heartbroken. But life moved on. Over the next few years I prayed for another laptop and it seemed like God kept saying, “You have one.” I would be like, “Yeah I know, but it’s broken. I need one that works.” This same conversation was repeated throughout the years. I didn’t want to and for some reason just never got around to buying another laptop. I used my mom’s when I had to, otherwise just wrote using the old fashioned pen and paper. I remember one day, even trying out my old laptop but it was no use and wasn’t even worth it. Since God kept answering the same way every time, I even tried plugging the burnt laptop in a couple times to see if it would miraculously turn on. It didn’t.
Well, this year I began looking around for a good deal on laptops praying about which one to get. Whether it was my sister’s old laptop, a refurbished one from online or a completely new one, of which was definitely not important enough to be in my checkbook. I finally decided to try looking at my “new” laptop one more time. I opened it up and noticed that each internal piece had a replacement number on it. I thought, “Hmm. I wonder if I got the piece out and replaced it, if it would work.” The piece popped right out and I decided to chance an eight dollar purchase online to see if it would work. Since the piece was coming from China, I prayed the entire shipment that it would work. I began getting really excited. As the expected delivery date approached, since my sister enjoys getting the mail, I began asking early, “Did I get anything?” She’d always answer with no. I kept praying. Finally it came while I was working. As soon as lunch was over, I ran and moved as fast as I could to put this new piece in. “Oh Lord, please let it work.” You see with this new blog starting and a new book title on the horizon, I needed something to do my work on. I didn’t even screw the computer back together before I plugged it in. In went the plug… my heart started pounding as the charging light came on the side. I waited a little longer before pressing the power button. I felt excitement well up inside me as that light came on too. All of a sudden, the screen opened and the music that was playing on it four years ago started up again like nothing ever happened. Praise God!
Not only was I excited about the laptop working. I was ecstatic that God knew I had a laptop all these years and He was always trying to tell me, but I just never listened. Even though it was right in front of my eyes, it took patience before I even saw it. I had to practice patience during the last year of searching for a good price and then when I finally saw hope, wait for the answer to come all the way across the world to me. Literally! That laptop is actually what I am using right now and it is working great! Thank God for His patience in my constant requesting even when He answered everytime!
So this week I am going to practice being patient, realizing that practice makes perfect. When I run, I am going to focus on the ending product of practice. Looking to Jesus in real life will help me push past the mental challenges that come with difficulties. Let us run this race Jesus has set before us with patience.