In Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there is a precocious little girl called Veronica Salt, used to getting her own way in whenever she wants, her watch phrase was "I want it now!". All who have read the book or seen the films (and if you haven't shame on you, head down to your local library and borrow a copy), will have laughed at her antics and yet, as is often the case with humour, we can find we are laughing at our own nature taken to an extreme. Are we ever really patient or like Veronica are we impatient to have whatever it is we want or desire or think we need .... NOW?
Patience is a virtue we hear others say and yet it is in such short supply in this day and age, the age of instant access to money, to shops (via the internet), to entertainment (TV) and to the things that might satisfy us. Take marriage and sex for example, today the attitude to sex and marriage is more a try before you buy, rather than being patient waiting first for the wedding and then for the wedding night. Something God intended to be special between a man and a women, something that should bond, unite and strengthen, turned into a must have now commodity rather than the culmination of a patiently grown, loving commitment for life, before God.
In a small way this is reflected in gardening, at my home in the early spring I had a large pruning job to do on the roses that grow against the front of the house. A careful slow and loving task, which if done badly can wreck the plant. Months of waiting are required to even see if the plant survived it, but now it is in full bloom, more than ever before, not all at once but some buds opened while others are still closed offering a tantalising suggestion of what is yet to come.
If you look closely you might see some more sowing with love and patience that will provide beauty later in the summer.
Patience is something I am learning a lot about at the moment having just gained a Theology degree at Spurgeons college in preparation for pastoral ministry, but as yet, God has not shown me where he is going to take me next. I could be impatient and jump at the first opportunity but it is far more important to wait for God to reveal his choice to me.
Patience is one of the things that the Apostle Paul writes about in relation to church life, as something that comes from walking a life with Christ (Gal 5:22) and something Christians are told to have with each other (Col 3:11-12), because as God knows, none of us are perfect. Our impatience can lead to hasty words or actions, badly formed or badly informed opinions and breaks in the wholeness of Christ's body, his Church. It is much harder to undo something and put it right than not to have got it wrong in the first place. Applying patient consideration of issues, actions, words can avoid so much upset.
God in his patience waits for us to want to spend time with him, to give up our lives to him so that we might receive back life in all of its fullness or abundance so that we might know the peace which he gives to all who patiently trust in him.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding be upon you ...