22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
One of my favorite old cartoons is a comic strip named Herman. It ran for years in the papers, and featured a single-frame drawing with a funny caption. One that I remember (probably because I identified with the sentiment) had Herman standing at the counter of a repair shop, with the item which he had brought in for service smashed over the head of the shop personnel. The line underneath the action said “If I had wanted it fixed a week from Friday, I would have brought it in to you a week from Friday.” While I don’t advocate violence, I find that I have a rather impatient personality.
I grow frustrated when things aren’t accomplished right away. I want things done on my time schedule, and my time usually means now. So seeing patience as a fruit of the Holy Spirit leaves me a little perplexed. I have often acquainted patience with waiting, and waiting with loafing and laziness. But patience is really a virtue. In the New Testament letter of James, the word patience appears again.
7 Be patient, therefore, beloved,until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. (James 5:7)
If I am to think about patience in this sense, there is nothing lazy at all about waiting for God’s timing in life. Farmers aren’t wasting time as they patiently wait for the early and the late rain. They know that their crops can’t ripen and grow over night. And maybe the best things in my life can’t either.
The fruit of the spirit is …. patience.
God, keep working in my life, as You always do. And please help me to learn the worth of waiting patiently until Your work is accomplished. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen