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Are You Patient?

My husband is patient. He can wait.
I can hardly wait for my water to boil for making tea.

When I ask him if I can do some project (usually after I’ve planned and want it now), he says, “Wait.” It’s the first time he knows there’s a problem and must consider it. But I already know it’s a problem, solved it and must now wait for him. UGH!

Sometimes I think my husband’s timetable is like God’s: non-existent.
I call my husband’s “Mexican Time,” or "Man’ana” (tomorrow).
Does God live inside of time? No.
Does God think yesterday, today, and tomorrow? No. When He says I’m perfected by His Son, He sees me as I will be, not as what I am. That’s a good thing. 

Do you ask for patience?
I use to, but then I read James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (Some translations say produces patience) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

How do you learn patience?
By trials.

When I read that, I was a quick learner. I stopped asking for patience. I didn’t need it that badly.
But God still knew I needed it.
We start school every morning at 8 AM working with one son while the other boys work independently.
After reading the lesson, I tell him, “This is true or false statement.”
He answers, “True … no, false.”
I look at him. This isn’t the first time we’ve done these. “I must read you the statement first.”
I read the statement.
He then answers, “True, no false. Maybe it’s true.”
I tell him to consider the answer, rather than guess at it.
We somehow make it through the true and false questions. I wonder if we learned anything.
Now we are ready for the fill-in questions. I give him all the fill-in choices.
Before I complete the first statement, he answers, “true.”
I take a great gulp of my drink. Chew on some ice. Look out the window and remind myself we have answered ONE SET OF QUESTIONS. “This is not a true and false statement. This is a fill-in. Listen to the choices to complete the statement.” And then I repeat the choices.
Immediately he guesses with words pulled from some recess of his brain, having no relevance on anything remotely related to the subject.
I do not particularly care that my dentist says chewing ice is the very worst thing a person can do for his teeth. Chewing ice saves lives. At least one life.
My ice is now gone and I must wait until this subject is finished before I get more. (I do exercise a bit of patience.)
I again give him the selection of words from which he must choose. As I give each word, he chooses that one, then the next one. Finally I say the correct one and he guesses that one. I want to move on. But I ask again, “Which one are you choosing for this question?”
He guesses right.
And I know guess is the correct word.
How much learning can really be taking place here?
Is he the one learning, or is this a trial to wear me into learning patience?
We have now completed one subject. We have four more to go.
And he is not the only one who must have help.
I give him a break, or is it for me? And tell him to work on his spelling words.
Another son comes to grade what he’s done. He doesn’t like nouns and who cares what a preposition is, so why does he have to learn it anyway?
I must mentally change my tactics to remember we are not just answering questions, we are developing character and habits that must be conformed to God’s image. This attitude is not acceptable.
Another interruption comes. Just a quick question from another son, so he can carry on with his work. And so my school morning progresses.
By the time I’ve reached mid-morning, I’m exhausted.
By noon, I’m very finished with school, even if the boys are not. I must now listen to my reader. He sounds out his words.
C-A-T has gotten better, but I wonder again about the English language. Why does it have such sounds like “ough”?
“Ough” can be said seven ways: though (like o in go), through (like oo in too), cough (like off in offer), rough (like uff in suffer), plough (like ow in flower), ought (like aw in saw), and borough (like a in above). Deep sigh. And he’s suppose to know which one to choose?

I do not have patience. I do not ask for patience, because I do not like trials.
When I consider the trials that James is speaking about, I know I could never make the list of those who persevered.
This was during Nero’s time. When he dipped Christians in oil and lit them for lights for his dinner parties. I can’t even imagine their trials.
Listening to C-A-T seems rather insignificant. And my frustrations at such little inconveniences seem petty and trivial. Not that they aren’t real or any less frustrating.
I gain perspective.

Consider the patriarchs of the faith, how they suffered greatly for their faith.
Read Hebrews 11.
“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth…
And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.”

My pitiful “trials” seem as nothing.
Read what the writer of Hebrews says next, in Chapter 12:1-2
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I have an entire crowd watching how I respond to my son’s learning. They are not watching to look for wrong. They are rooting for me.
But do you know what gives me the most encouragement?
It’s when I fix my eyes on Jesus.
He, too, is cheering for me.
In fact He showed me how to do it.
He endured the cross.
How?
By looking for the delight of His Father.

Patience? You know I need it.
But do I grit my teeth (or chew my ice) and bare the trials that come to me?
Or should I, like Christ, look to see My Father’s Face.
If I look at His Face, I won’t be noticing how long C-A-T takes or whether “ough” is pronounced like “uff” or “ow.” The trifling hardship will be forgotten.
I will only see His smile.



What stretches your patience? How do you keep focused on what is important?
 

I have to laugh at what you write, it is so me! We start out of morning with our eyes fixed on Jesus and feel so good about it, but after a morning of struggling we've lost our focus and are mired in the frustrations of life. I'll admit, I'm so glad to be past home schooling, don't think I could do it any more. Though I admit that when I'm with the grandchildren, I have a lot more patience because I'm just "there," I'm not distracted by a million other things going on like when all the kids were home. Hang on, Sonya, you'll get there too! It's our reward for staying the course.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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