Patricia Hofer

Is patience not just a “perfect work” but a perfecting work?

THERE IS NO QUEUE AT THE GATE OF PATIENCE. We have the Moroccans to thank for this shrewd observation of the human condition. Not having patience, we certainly aren’t going to wait in line for it! Perhaps that’s also because patience doesn’t always appear to be much of a desired virtue. … Sometimes being patient is connected with an ordeal, enduring physical or emotional suffering. Patience can even become a way to justify selfish inaction or timidity. … But in Romans, rather than tying patience to suffering, Paul connects it to hope. He writes: “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (NRSV 8:24). … That’s because God’s time is not our time. As George MacDonald wrote, “Perhaps, indeed, the better the gift we pray for, the more time is necessary for its arrival” (CS Lewis’ Anthology p. 47). Spiritual gifts like mercy and meekness and forgiveness spring from deep within our hearts, where our Christ spirit operates. And so, as MacDonald explained: “To give us the spiritual gift we desire, God may have to begin far back in our spirit, in regions unknown to us, and do much work that we can be aware of only in the results … (Anthology 47). As the Bible says, we must “let patience have her perfect work” (KJ James 1:4). (excerpts  from chapter 29 of Turning Aside to See, ©️2011)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *