Reflecting over the past few months, I guess like everyone we have had to become just a little more patient during the Covid 19 lockdown. Feeling frustrated about getting life back to normal or what ever that new normal turns out to be.

Having PATIENCE is for many of us – not an easy exercise.

At the time of writing, football is back after one hundred days, albeit in a much-modified form and BBC Match of the Day returned a few days later. What patient fans!

The latest Star Wars production ‘The Return of the Hairdressers’ will be showing at a cinema near you very soon. But what a wait.

The driver in front of you at the traffic lights doesn’t move off quickly enough – and inside you are screaming – ‘‘IDIOT – I’m late for a meeting, a very important meeting, get that hopeless piece of machinery off the road.’’ Or even much stronger words to show your anger. I will leave it to your imagination.

You will all have your own thoughts on what moves you to be impatient.

Looking at the dictionary definition – Patience is the ability to wait for something without frustration. Patience requires self-control. Having no patience means – unable to tolerate or be irritated by.

When I started to look more into the subject of Patience, I remembered an article I featured in a radio programme a while back. It’s still very relevant today and I’d like to share it with you.

I wonder if you’ve ever heard of the comedian Yaakov Smirnoff? Well, when he first arrived in the United States from Russia, he was not prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, ‘‘On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk – you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice – you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then – then I saw baby powder, and I thought to myself, UMM – What a country!’’

It’s true isn’t it – we live in a fast- paced world. We drive fast cars. We eat fast food. We live in the fast lane. We want it now. Interest free credit and don’t pay for the next three, five ten years or maybe – never at all.

One old story tells of a judge who was in a benevolent mood as he questioned the prisoner brought before him.

‘‘What are you charged with?’’ he asked.

‘‘Doing my Christmas shopping early,’’ replied the defendant.

‘‘That’s no offence,’’ said the judge. ‘‘How early were you doing this shopping?’’

‘’ Aaah, before the store opened your honour,’’ replied the prisoner.

Few of us will go to those extremes to satisfy our desire to ‘‘get it now’’ but we know what we want and we wish we could have it yesterday. We don’t like to wait. There’s Speedy Boarding at the Airport, the Fast Check Out at the Supermarket and Cash in a Flash at the hole in the wall machines. Even our children and grand children get in on the act – ‘’Are we there yet.’ Yes, we don’t like to be kept wating.

Though there is certainly a place for decisiveness and action, there is also, I believe, a place for patience.

We see in the Bible many examples of those whose patience characterised their walk with God. James points us to the prophets ‘as an example of patience in the face of suffering’ and also refers to Job, whose perseverance was rewarded by what the ‘Lord finally brought about’.

In Isaiah we read, ‘But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk, and not faint’.

Abraham too, waited patiently and ‘received what was promised.’

In James 5 v 8 it says ‘You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near.’

In Colossians 3 v 12, a particular favourite of mine, we read;

‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility and patience.’

You see, because God is patient with us, we should be patient to others.

Patience however does not develop overnight and God’s power and goodness are crucial to its development.

Our patience is further strengthened by simply resting in God’s perfect will and timing. So, have you learned when to wait?

Wait for the sunrise …there will be another day.

Wait for guidance…. learn to be still.

Wait for wisdom…. it will come with experience.

Wait for growth…. it will come in the fullness of time.

Wait and be contented.…it is a secret to inner peace.

There is a time to act, but there is also a time to wait.

Learn how to tell what time it is, for great things can happen for those who learn to wait.

Oh, and remember – unlike our prisoner before the judge – don’t do your Christmas shopping too early!


Dennis Aicken