We often equate patience with endurance. There’s no doubt that often this is a key element of exercising patience, especially when it comes to illness and pain. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
As a boy I found an arrow in a meadow near our house. Some other kid had launched it and lost it in the tall meadow grass. An arrow was a real find for any young boy, but without a bow to relaunch it, it had little value other than holding it in hand and fantasizing how it would look in flight. So, I decided to fashion a crude bow for my feathered treasure. Fashioned out of a sapling I cut, I strung it with some monofilament fishing line from my trusty tackle box and decided to test it out. I went back to the meadow where I found it and picked out a target: a tree stump some forty or so yards in the distance. I can still remember hitching that arrow to my line, raising the bow, squinting and taking aim at that distant stump partially hidden by the waving meadow grasses. Aiming an arrow takes some practice. The first release fell far short of the target. Finally, after several similar attempts, each time risking the loss of my only arrow, I decided to pull back harder on the line, steady my wrist better, and wait until I couldn’t resist the tension for my release. My forearm quivered as I stretched that line as far as I could and then let it fly. This time I overshot the target but was satisfied I had become a proficient archer, one with promise and the strength to reach the goal.
It took great patience on my part not to give up on that homemade bow. Each time I shot that arrow I got closer to the target knowing that, if I pulled long and hard enough, I could reach it. I knew that I needed patience with an attitude.
Here’s a thought from George Matheson concerning patience: “We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet there is a patience that I believe to be harder – the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: it is the power to work under stress; to have a great weight at your heart and still run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christ-like thing! The hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in the sickbed but in the street. To wait is hard, to do it with ‘good courage’ is harder!” (Our Daily Bread).
Most of the time we equate patience with endurance. There is no doubt that often this is a key element of exercising patience, especially in the company of illness and pain. Enduring misfortune requires a great degree of patience. As a cancer survivor I am well aware of how much patience it takes to get through treatments, numerous appointments, surgery and recovery. While all of this required a kind of diligent patience that marks a responsible and cooperative patient, there was an even more robust kind of patience that appeared after all this has passed. My life changed more radically after cancer than it did with the actual occurrence and treatment phase. I was back together in one piece but missing parts of my body that had been there before. Parts that were one way were now pulled in another direction. What I ate and when I ate it was a permanent change that came with the disease. The very rhythms of my body that had exercised themselves for decades were altered. I had to stretch my patience to endure this, put it to a tension like pulling back that fishing line. I had new targets in life that needed to be reached. I needed patience with an attitude. So it is with our faith. God is looking for us to endure life with patience calling on a faith that is tensioned and able to stretch itself as far as possible. God is looking for disciples who posses faith that endures: faith with a real attitude–on another level truly enduring life to it’s limits.
We pray. Thank you Lord for giving us numerous opportunities in life to stretch our faith out to the maximum lest it become weak and less enduring. Forgive us Lord, when we become complacent in our faith, giving up on the opportunities to reach faith goals that might seem too far or difficult to achieve without stretching our faith to the utmost. Keep us always aware that the only limits to our faith is our ability to try. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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