Patience

Impatience is like a weed, a runner stretching every which way across the garden. It’s covered in tiny thorns of irritability and bitter fruit of discontent. It cares not where it grows and left to itself will smother the fern and suffocate the rose. I have these weeds in my garden and the only solution I’ve found is to pull them out by the roots, pull back the tendrils, and burn them. I can almost hear the ferns and roses breath a sigh of relief as they have freedom to grow again, unfettered.

Impatience knows no boundaries. It springs up in relationships that may be a challenge, in circumstances not to our liking, in aspects of ourselves we struggle to overcome, even with God when he seems tone deaf to our cries. And we unwittingly nurture and fertilize the damn thing. We focus on it, we chew on it’s fruit and brood on our discontent, we blame, and perhaps we even passively resign ourselves to its presence. Like most invasive weeds it thrives on discouragement and being left alone to do it’s thing.

In my garden I love ripping this creeping weed out. Once one has the roots in hand the tendrils meekly relinquish the fern and the rose and actually have no strong hold at all. They are easily gathered and the difference to the foliage is immediate and gratifying.

Patience on the other hand is indeed like a rose. It grows and buds, blossoms, then drops its fragrant head, all within a few days. And then another blooms on the same bush, and another. Patience grows with quiet nurture and it’s thorns are not for attacking another but to defend its presence in the scheme of things.

I find impatience mindlessly easy to cultivate, particularly when I’m not paying attention. Before I know it the discontented tendrils and irritable thorns are everywhere in my life. But I’ve also learned that with a little effort they are equally easy to remove and replace with roses.

In the spring I built a rustic archway to support climbing roses. I know that to really enjoy many roses they are greatly helped by sturdy supports. They love to lean on the strength of another so they can expend energy on their blooms rather than their branches. Which is a clue to me about how to increase my patience as I combat the ‘creep’ of discontent.

Patience, like a rose, flourishes with a little attention. Patience is not passive surrender, it is deliberate and intentional. My patience is staked and supported to the love of God and His promises to be faithful, to never leave me, and to unconditionally love me. It trusts the Gardener when there is pruning and leans on the support and strength of friends and family. It depends on him when nothing makes sense, when relationships sour, and when justice doesn’t seem to flow like a river.

In a world so chaotic at present the weeds can appear to be taking over the garden. Patience trusts that appearances today are not eternal truth. That this too shall pass. And so I remember, as perhaps you also need reminding, the weeds don’t win the day, the rose will rise despite a crown of thorns, truth and justice prevail, peace and patience will reign supreme.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

John Cox

Offering Pastoral Counselling to encourage, heal, transform, and give hope.

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