Impatience is a sin. It may be caused by selfishness, discontent, or failure to recognize imperfections and to appreciate cycles and processes in life. It can lead to other sins such as grumbling, coveting, even rage.
Patience, however, is a Christian virtue. Life in this world is characterized by failure and frustration. Many of us are very much acquainted with disappointment and distress every day. Such situations call for patience.
Take family life, for example. The Lord has given me the privilege to live with my wife, Cathy, for almost 25 years now. I’m very grateful to the Lord for her. She’s the better half who truly complements me and compensates many of my weaknesses. All those years together were filled with difficult challenges. From child-rearing to homeschooling and from making both ends meet to moving from one house to another (15 houses all in all), we have seen the best and the worst in us. Without the Lord’s patience, we could have easily given up in life.
The same thing is true in the ministry. I’ve been serving the Lord both in the church and the wider Christian community for 30 years. I have labored both in teaching and preaching the Word. I have experienced many frustrations in my own life and ministry over those years. I was hoping that my own walk with the Lord greatly has progressed toward maturity. I have been praying as well that those whom I have been serving would show significant growth in holiness.
While there is evidence of real transformation in me and with the people to whom I am ministering, there are still a lot of areas that I need to work hard in order to foster meaningful and consistent growth in the Christian life and service.
So whether in the family or in the ministry, patience and perseverance are definitely required. And I am well aware that only the Lord Jesus, by His Spirit, is able to make my family and I patient and persevering in life.
One veteran Christian leader in Asia has observed that at some point “every Christian family will encounter experiences of sickness, conflict, heartache, sorrow, deprivation, disappointment, and failure. So everyone must become skilled in exercising patience. This is a task to which we give ourselves with dedication.” He also added saying, “Most Christian homes could experience joy in the midst of their pain – joy that would finally overcome the pain. However, there are some Christian homes where the pain lingers and takes away joy, and these homes are characterized by deep distress….
“People may not understand, but God does, and He comes to us and identifies with us in our pain. He knows what our pain is because he bore it on the cross. Not only did He take on our sin on the cross, but He also took on our pain and sorrow. Isaiah prophesies, ‘Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows’ (Isa. 53:4)” (Ajith Fernando, “The Family Life of a Christian Leader,” 92, 99).
We hope you enjoyed this post from the “Pearls of the Orient” blog series by Rev. Vic Bernales. Rev. Bernales is an ordained minister in the Pearl of the Orient Covenant Reformed Church. He pastors the Davao Covenant Reformed Church in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his Master of Divinity at Mid-America Reformed Seminary at Dyer, Indiana, U.S.A.