The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV).
I've been told that I have some unusual tastes in food. For example, I like pickled pig's feet... I know, most of you are now thinking, “Yuk!” But, then I could be like Andrew Zimmern, who is known for his show airing on the Travel Channel in which he travels the world in search of the strangest foods, from eyeballs to guinea pigs! Maybe it's an acquired taste, even though I am quite sure my tastes would be called quite tame compared to him!
By the same token, patience must be an acquired taste. You must work at it - be intentional about it. But the truth is most of us do not like to wait. Whether it's waiting for an order at a slow fast-food place or at a traffic light, we're impatient. Waiting is agonizing stuff! In a certain orchestral number by Joseph Haydn, the flute player is supposed to sit quietly for 74 measures and then come in exactly on the upbeat on the 75th. An acquaintance of mine played flute in an orchestra. She says that a composer who expects a man to wait that patiently and perform that precisely is looking for a rare individual.
It takes humility to wait. When we wait, we admit there are some things that are not under our control. Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life says, "Cultivating community takes humility. Self-importance, smugness and stubborn pride destroy fellowship faster than anything else . . . Humility is the oil that smoothes and soothes relationships. That's why the Bible says, 'Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.'" It also takes faith to wait. We do not like to wait because again that means we are not in control of things. Faith is the conviction that there is one who is in control, whose character is love. By yielding control of our lives and trusting God, waiting can be a creative strategy for dealing with life's disappointments.
It was the day after Easter. The pastor paused for a moment at the top of the steps leading from his church to the avenue, now crowded with people rushing to their jobs. Sitting in her usual place inside a small archway was the old flower lady. At her feet corsages and boutonnieres were spread out on a newspaper. The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled face alive with joy. The pastor looked down the stairs, then on an impulse turned and picked out a flower. As he put it in his lapel, he said, "You look happy this morning." "Why not? Everything is good," she answered. She was dressed so shabbily and seemed so very old that her reply startled him. He responded, "No troubles?" "You can't reach my age and not have troubles," she replied. "Only it's like Jesus and Good Friday . . . when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, that was the worst day for the whole world. And when I get troubles, I remember that. And then I think what happened only three days later - Easter and our Lord rising - and somehow everything gets all right again."
Sometimes there is nothing else we can do but wait. Such waiting requires humility and faith simply to persevere. Sometimes, however, waiting can be a strategic response to a difficult situation. Give it a try!
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