By Robert Halsey Pine
“Love the LORD, all you his saints. The LORD preserves the faithful, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 31 NRSV).
Patience is difficult for us in these times. Everywhere we turn, we are being told that we should have this or can get that. Advancements in communication have put the world at our fingertips. Transportation availability can take us anywhere we want to go. We look for quick fixes to our problems. Quick fixes many times include trashing relationships and moving on. We have become impatient with working through situations. We are impatient with God.
We expect to live forever. Our concern is how we look on the outside. We put off how we look on the inside. We think it can’t be seen. We chase the almighty dollar. Brother James told those of his time, “You have laid up treasure for the last days (James 5:3b NRSV).” If it was true for the contemporaries of James, how true is it for us today. When the young and famous die, it shocks us into realizing our own mortality. As mortals, with a definite time to live in our natural life, it is hard to give up the fast pace and be patient and to wait for the Lord.
As a young man, I learned a saying of Benjamin Franklin’s that has stayed with me. Like many bits of advice I’ve learned over the years, it has been hard for me to keep. Franklin wrote, “Patience keeps the dear school, but a fool can learn in no other.” We may not like to be taught to be patient, but there is no substitute for it in this life. How many times in our lives have we thought that disaster was unavoidable? How often has time and patience disproved our fears?
God’s patience with David taught David to be patient. There is a lesson here for each of us. How patient has God been in your life? He has waited and waited. How many years has it taken you to learn His ways? How many times have you stumbled? How many times have you had to start over?
How do we mirror this patience and put it into practice in our lives? We love God and one another and wait.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.