Love is Patient
The first “Love is” attribute, “Love is Patient.”
“Patience is a virtue” is an often-quoted common idiom that is often used when trying times come.
Which is the primary reason – our perception of time and the nature of our expectations about timing.
I’d like to draw some contrasts between different perceptions of time and expectations about timing.
Time is a part of the journey of life.
We measure time by seconds, minutes, and hours in a single day.
We count seven days to a week and fifty-two weeks to a year.
Ten years to a decade, one hundred years to a century, and one thousand years to a millennium.
Very few humans live an entire century, and in the modern age, no one lives to be one thousand years old.
The human life span can range from a few hours to more than one hundred years, and the mystery is, we don’t know how long our life on earth will last, nor do we know the length of others’ lives.
The Oxford Dictionary offers the definition of patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
According to an article on Encyclopedia.com, the biblical meaning of the word patience has two attributes, “endurance and forbearance.”
Forbearance relates to self-restraint – practicing mercy and slowness to anger – often attributed to God’s tolerance of human self-willfulness.
God is all-powerful and has the freedom to cherish or punish.
The power and freedom to cherish or harm is present in all human relationships.
It depends on the strength of those involved in the relationship.
Endurance is the ability to put up with trying circumstances – times of pain, suffering, and affliction – during and until those situations and events continue or pass away.
One of the challenges of living in a fast-paced society is the expectation of controlling time, people and events.
In relationships, we are responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, but not those of others.
Each relationship is on a journey with stages of growing or dying.
Every marriage, parenting, family, church, community, and civic engagement involves the opportunity to discover and practice loving patience.
And part of the freedom to do that relates to the choice of heart-set – the acceptance and tolerance of the delay, trouble, or suffering we experience.
A heart-set is a chosen path of intending, thinking, saying, and doing how to treat or relate to God, ourselves and other people.
The treasuring heart-set is based on several assertions:
- Life is a journey for every human being
- Every human being shares in the Divine Image of God and develops in that Image or not.
- We journey with others – we are not alone
- Love is the compass that helps us navigate life’s journey to treasure others to help them discover and uncover the Divine Image within themselves.
- The key messages we can give to others are admiring, encouraging, and appreciating.
Patience accepts that other people are precious gems, “diamonds in the rough” and accepts the imperfections, the growing pains, the plateaus in development, the deliberate painful words and behavior.
Patience takes a deep breath and says, “Okay. That’s where you’re at. I can accept that. Let’s move forward on the journey. Together”
It takes faith that God has all the time in the universe – an eternity of time – and trust that God will bring the best of creation to completion when life’s journey ends.
I believe that patience is a gift of acceptance and understanding that we can receive if we ask God for it.
For example, we might ask God to see what God sees, to hear what God hears, to value what God treasures, and to express our care, compassion, mercy and love like God does.
That is an ambitious request – and a very noble one.
In the meantime, acknowledging others’ goodness, their share in the Divine Image, is like an antidote to impatience.
Instead of becoming angry or frustrated, we can listen and observe what is happening in the lives of those closest to us.
We can value them and express our care and concern.
Click here to read the second attribute of Love, “Love is Kind.”