Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? Isaiah 7:13
I want to believe that in my old age I have gotten wiser and my ability to be patient has gotten better. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm succeeding in either! This past weekend brought to life the part of the verse above "...try the patience of men". It started off well,;I had a half day on Friday and I was going to get my car inspected.
I went. It failed. I was appalled. The car is in great condition. Yet, the paint was chipping off my plates, so they needed to be replaced. Oh, and I need two tires in the rear of the car. WOW - not what I was expecting. Well, I had the 1/2 day off, so off to Town Hall I went for new plates. Yep, wrong spot, needed to go to Dept of Motor Vehicles (a 1/2 hour away). I'm not sure how your Dept of Motor Vehicles works. Let's just say that ours is a test of patience. I was glad that my husband joined me for some "quality" time and off we went. Two hours later, I had two new plates.
Off to the tire store we go. Got there just as it was closing. They didn't have my tires in stock. All could be resolved on Saturday, though. Saturday at 10:30, the car was dropped off. By that time I had already completed the normal Saturday chores, so, after making some meatballs and doing a couple of other things, I thought I deserved a pedicure. I called for a 12:15 appointment. By 12:17 my toes had dipped in the water. Someone didn't come over to start my pedicure until 12:55. Yep - another test of patience. Didn't they already know what kind of weekend I was having? I did finally get my toes painted and just in time, my husband called to tell me my car was ready.
Yea, pick up the car, go back to where I had it inspected for a "re-inspect". I get there, they can't take me for 1.5 hours. Really? Are you kidding? I did what they asked and all they have to do is put on an inspection sticker. Nope, that was the deal. Fine. I went home, did a few more things around the house, and was off to get my sticker 1.5 hours later. Got there and the guy came out. "Not sure we will be able to do it today?" Are you kidding? While I was gone, two other people came and dropped off their cars, so they got a "spot" in front of me.
That was it! My patience, that I tried so hard to keep all day long, was gone. This was going to be a relaxing, filled with family time, type of weekend. No, we didn't have any specific plans, just to "be" with each other. It had turned into a test of patience. I don't lose my patience often, but when I do, I can be a bit indignant. My voice was raising and I needed to talk to the technician, the asst. manager and the manager. Yes, EVERYONE needed to hear my pain. I was mad. They can see I have new plates, and the tires are new!!!
That went well for me, until the manager checked and said, "Yes, you have two new tires, but they are on the FRONT!! The back ones are still bad." Are you kidding me? Really? After a "wonderful"call to my husband, I was on my way back to the tire place. Meanwhile he called there and found out they had closed. Done. All this work and I still won't have my car inspected this weekend.
As I was driving to dinner with my family, in a car that had yet to be inspected, I started chatting with my best friend, God. "Really God, all of this and nothing? My patience is being tested beyond belief. What are you trying to tell me?" I realized, He was sharing much with me.
- Maybe my patience wasn't as good as I thought. I obviously have some work to do in this area and ensuring I don't take out my frustrations on others.
- Check and re-check. There are many times throughout this scenario I could have checked something to ensure it would be smooth - like checking to make sure the new tires were on the back!
- Be in the moment. As my husband and I left the Dept of Motor Vehicles on Friday, we laughed that although we waited two hours, we were together. We laughed and chatted during that time. Maybe God wanted that for us. While I waited for my toes, I was sitting in a wonderful massage chair.
- Deal with the deck. Just deal with the cards you have been given. Maybe the "cards" I had this weekend weren't a winning hand, but I got to play. I was here, among family, enjoying some rainy days with them.
Yet, all of this made me think of how patient God has to be with me. With all the sins I commit, the lack of initiative to share His word, the times when I don't do HIS will, He is still patient with me. He still loves me. He still embraces me in His wonderful arms. He NEVER takes away my eternal life. Now THAT is patience. For as much as we try to endure in situations that don't go perfectly (a crying child in a grocery store, a friend/family member who lashes out, best laid plans going array), our Heavenly Father has endured so much more, and we still come out on the winning side.
So, the next time our patience is tested, remember. God's patience is tested every day, and He still loves us. When our patience is being tested, let's check and re-check our behavior. Be in the moment, is there something good that can come of this? After all that, we just need to deal the cards we've been given. With God on our side we will always come out with a winning hand!!
Dearest Lord, how our patience runs thin sometimes! With the day to day frustrations, our patience to handle situations can be difficult. Let us remember that when those times arise, you are there with us. Provide us with the patience we need and may we show our Christian hearts in the process. Your patience of us is immeasurable. Thank you for always loving us and never leaving us. In your name I pray. Amen.