“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NRSV)
I am not, by nature, a patient person. I am one of those people who count the number of items in people’s grocery carts to see if they belong in the speedy checkout lane. I have an annoying tendency (ask my family) to fill in sentences when I get impatient with people taking too long to tell a story. I am one of those people whose middle name should be “Efficiency” because that is just how I roll.
Believe me when I say that impatience is not one of my finer character traits and I have been working with God on it most of my adult life. I struggle with it as a spiritual practice. I have prayed for patience, and God seems to provide me with ample opportunities to practice almost daily.
Perhaps the best book I have read on patience as a spiritual practice came from the author, Sue Monk Kidd who wrote When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions. “I don’t hold to the idea that God causes suffering and crisis. I just know that those things come along, and God uses them. We think life should be a nice,,clean ascending line. But inevitably something wanders onto the scene and creates havoc with the nice way we’ve arranged life to fall in place.” And then, COVID-19 comes along and tests all of us with patience. I am learning that God can use this time in me to refine my character, that I might become more “mature and complete” in the words of our Scripture. How might God be using these days to grow your character in Christ?
Rev. Dr. Deb Kaiser-Cross
Minister for Congregational Care
Practice for This Week
With each frustration, offer it up to God in prayer that it may become a stepping-stone to a more Christ-like character.
For those with whom we may disagree in these tense days:
O Spirit of calm courage, we invite you to enter the hidden places in our hearts to do the work of deep change, to free us from any obstacles we place in our relationship with you or with other people. Let each of our stumbling blocks become stepping-stones to a deeper connection with you, trusting your power at work in our lives, as we follow our Lord Jesus. Amen.