I did not anticipate writing this week’s post. In fact, I was geared up, ready to write last week’s post on peace, and then life got tremendously busy, and time slipped away from me. For the first time in months, I missed a deadline.
I’m sitting on my back deck now, writing about patience. It felt like a challenge from God. Write about patience, I could almost hear a good, loving chuckle in the background of that request. For it is goodness and love that sustains us when the small everyday happenings reveal to us how impatient we actually are. That being said, let me tell you about the ways He’s been preparing my heart to write on patience in the last 24 hours alone.
It all began when I started summer school yesterday morning at 0800. I work as a school nurse, and usually one of the perks of the job is the beloved summer vacation. As this is my third summer off, I decided to cram in as much as I could into this summer break.
9 science credits? Sure! Immunology online and Chemistry in person? Okay! Travel to New Jersey at the end of the summer to see my handsome nephew? Sign me up!
When I opened up the syllabus to my Immunology class, panic overcame me. The exams have to be in person! The final is scheduled when I am already 3 days into my New Jersey adventure! I frantically emailed my instructor, suggesting different solutions to my final exam date conflict. I sent my email in at noon. Over the course of the next 5 hours, I checked and rechecked my inbox, willing a response. It did not come.
Frustrated, I left for the gym for my favorite exercise activities. As I stretched, downward dogged, planked, and child posed my way through yoga, I felt the tension in my shoulders and neck melt away. Breathe in. In my heart, God softly reminded me, “I’ve got this. Don’t you trust me?” Breathe out.
I went to Chemistry class the next day and checked my course email when I returned home. The teacher responded to my email with a “Yes, you can take this course’s final exam early.”
How many times do I send my prayers like an email demanding an immediate response? How many times do I fret and fluster over things outside of my control?
Then there were lessons waiting for me in wet, cleaned carpets. One of my sweet dogs happened to have several accidents which led to an unanticipated cleaning of the carpet and an appointment with the Rug Doctor. I had to wave a slow goodbye to the leisure filled hours penciled into my head that involved Netflix, a nap, and perhaps some sort of studying. And as I sucked the foamy cleaner into the heavy machine, slowly going over each soiled area, I had to laugh. “You’re writing about patience,” a little sing-song voice hummed. Can I be patient when plans are interrupted?
Now I sit here on the back deck, typing out this post on my phone. I was going to use my Dad’s laptop…I say “going to” because Google Chrome was not updated, nor was his computer. I stared painstakingly at the wheel of spinning death for the last 25 minutes. Patience, you say? Even when…it’s just a small thing? Even when…a little outburst wouldn’t hurt anyone? Patience even when nobody is watching?
Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
I don’t think God was messing around when He prompted Paul to write these words. Sometimes we face huge, trying moments in our life—those which cause us to fall flat on our face and seek solely after God. Then there are the moments which are seemingly benign, like my moments above. These small trials are light-lifting used to strengthen and tone our character. They are used to remind us that God is in control, and we are not. We have the opportunity to freak out and panic, or we can lean into our God, who is always for us, whispering, “I’ve got this. Don’t you trust me?”
Readers, When do you find it most difficult to exercise patience?
Sarah believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog, and you can find her stories for Anchored Voices under the tag Sarah.