When I was eight years old, my dad taught me to fly fish from his boat. I loved watching his technique and longed to learn. The graceful arc of his rod positioned the artificial fly inches from the bank with a gentle landing. After Daddy’s casts—when the tiny ripples subsided—we patiently watched to see if a fish would bite.
Fishing with an eight-year-old requires an extra measure of patience. One day my entire rod landed in the lake, but Daddy rescued it before it sank.
My flies would often land a few feet in front of the boat with a plop and several feet of line that probably gave the fish heart attacks, spoiling hopes of an afternoon catch of bass and bream.
My dad demonstrated a generous supply of forbearance while I learned to cast further out and toward the bank—which often caused the hook to catch on the bank’s grass or low hanging branches. With tolerance, dear old Dad would paddle over to the edge, remove my hook, tie on another fly, and paddle back out.
I sat in the front of the boat and Daddy sat in the back and called out each step in the process. One time after several successful casts, I tried again. This time I heard, “Pull your rod up, pull back, stop, go forward, OW!” The only thing I’d hooked that time was Daddy’s scalp!
After my tearful apology, Daddy pressed a handkerchief to his bleeding scalp and said, “It’s okay. Let’s try that again.” His response was one of many that spoke of his love for me.
Love is patient, love is kind.1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV 1
Patience is a fruit of God’s Spirit working in us. Our forbearance speaks of His love in us.Patience is a fruit of God’s Spirit working in us. Our forbearance speaks of His love in us. Click To Tweet
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness …
In this series of posts, we set out to renew our walk with God this spring. Part of the renewal He generates in our hearts is transforming us to be more like Him. God is patient and slow to anger.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.Psalm 86:15
Imagine the patience of Jesus as He witnessed sin, taught the disciples, and suffered for sinful men. Surely, when Jesus called us to be “fishers of men,” He meant for us to “put on” patience before we step into the boat and cast our line.
God’s instructions in Colossians chapter three guide us as we seek to imitate Jesus and ask Him to renew our hearts.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.Colossians 2:6
He then tells us which garments to “put off” (Colossians 3:5-9) and which to “put on” (v.12-14). Patience is among them.
Sometimes patience is needed when we wait:
- for a new cashier to finish our order,
- for a child to choose a “just right” bedtime story,
- for a dear elderly relative to tell the same story over and over,
- for a long road-blocking train to pass when we’re running late,
- for a phone recording that drones on when we seek a quick response.
What occasions test your patience? How would you rate your responses to trying people and circumstances? I ranked myself about eight out of ten on my imaginary patience scale … until I read definitions like these:
- “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint” 2
- “the bearing of provocation, annoyance, … or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like” 3
- the ability to “accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious” 4
“Without annoyance or anxiety? Accepting of delays? Enduring calmly without complaint?”
After reading these definitions and considering the character of Jesus, I remembered patience is more than my behavior. It includes clothing my heart with forbearance.
We often hear, “That occasion really tried my patience.” Maybe some circumstances are tests to remind us to check our hearts and put on this character trait Jesus modeled for us.
When we put on the garment of biblical patience, the following accessories clash with our spiritual clothing:
- snappy retorts
- huffing and puffing
- murmuring under our breath
- seething as we wish to fast forward
- speeding around a car in front of us
Oh, my. Perhaps we should attach a note to the mirror: Put on patience as you imitate Jesus.
Let me check my imaginary patience scale again and pray. I’m grateful for God’s patience and willingness to forgive when we repent, aren’t you?
Thank You for the patience and forbearance you grant to me. Forgive me for being impatient with people, circumstances, and even myself when I’m in a hurry and things don’t go my way. Renew my walk with you, Lord God, and remind me to put on patience along with spring outfits as I observe Your work in and around me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Thanks, dear reader friend, for stopping by. Please share your thoughts about patience or examples of this trait you’ve witnessed.
1 All Bible verses are from the ESV.