Be Careful What You Ask For

Patience is a virtue; catch it if you can.

Have you ever had a day that seemed like everyone was pushing your  buttons? A day full of stress? Did you pray God would give you patience? I’ve done that before, and it really didn’t make things any better. In fact, it may have actually gotten a little worse. My prayer went something like this: “God, will you give me patience today.”  I know, I know; some of you are wondering, “What’s wrong with that prayer?” Well, you didn’t read it in the right tone of voice. Read it again, this time with an impatient, exasperated, begging tone. “God, will you give me patience today, PLEASE!”

Over the years, I’ve formed an opinion about patience, and you may or may not agree with me. My opinion is that patience is not merely given; it is taught. (Pause and ponder if you must.) Would you like to know how I figured that out? Okay, I’ll share my enlightenment.

First, I must confess that I am a slow learner.  You see, each time I would pray my prayer of desperation the day would go from bad to worse. It would be one thing after another that would try my patience.  Like I said, I’m a slow learner so it took awhile for me to figure out what was happening. Then, one day, as if a light bulb came on, I realized the days that were filled with patience-challengers were the days I asked God for patience.

Once I recognized the pattern, I began trying to figure out why. I began to realize, I wasn’t striving to attain the virtue, patience. I was just wanting rescued when I was at the end of my rope. That’s when I recalled a phrase I heard over and over as a child. Practice makes perfect. To be a patient person, I needed practice. Whenever, I asked God for patience, He made sure to give me plenty of opportunities to practice.

Over the years, I have learned to attain patience, I must be teachable and willing to practice being patient. Now when I have a trying day, I try to remember this is my opportunity to practice this virtue. When I am patient, I show love. In 1 Corinthians 13 it says “Love is patient.”

Remember, be careful what you ask for. If you ask for patience, you will be given opportunities to practice.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”   Ephesians 4:2 ESV

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