There have been moments in my life where my patience has been pushed to its absolute limit.
There have also been times where my patience has run out and I have given up or thrown in the towel. Was I proud that this happened? Absolutely not. But proved to be a good teaching moment for me. When my patience begins to wear thin, I have learned that need to refresh it.
With patience, and particularly persistent patience, we certainly need hope. For if there is no hope, then there is no desire or driving force behind our patience. Without hope, why would we have the need to patiently persist through the muck and mire that is weighing on us?
What also is ultimately at the heart of patience, in addition to hope, is faith: A certain faith that you can trust your training and practice if you are a hunter, a musician, an accountant or a skilled woodworker. A faith that you can rely on what you learned and your patience will come to fruition.
This faith is also realized in the trust and relationships we have with others. If we have that friend who is habitually late, we know that if we wait longer than expected they will show up. If we have faith in ourselves and God that we can persevere through patience, we can view the world with a greater sense of both optimism and hope.
Maybe this is what God wants us to find with patience: Faith and hope. The faith comes from the promises God has given: The promise that His Son will come to live among us and do many good deeds and teach us ways in which we can live our lives. The promise that was given during the time of Noah’s Ark, where a rainbow was provided and a promise was made that the world will no longer be susceptible to worldwide floods. The promise that God sent His one and only Son to be with us and give us the gift of eternal life, a gift of the utmost hope.
In the moments we can control when we are required to use patience, we must maintain it and remain level-headed and not let our frustrations rise. What all of this requires though, is a certain and consistent persistent patience.
We need to remain vigilant, especially on those days when we are exhausted, frustrated, saddened or stressed. We need to maintain a hope that things will get better and this moment will pass.
Those are the times when having patience reaps the greatest rewards; and we find that not only our lives, but the lives of others will be better for it. In fact, that is what this Advent season is all about—a time of waiting with persistent patience, faith and hope in the coming of our Savior.