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Have you noticed that people who consistently exercise patience are increasingly rare? It really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Given all the time-saving devices in our society, we place a premium on multitasking and getting things done fast—all in the name of saving time. Perhaps that describes you. It certainly paints a bull’s eye on me.

The Apostle Paul mentions patience in his letter to the Christians in Galatia. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV).

Notice that the passage doesn’t tell us that patience is a gift. It’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We’re not naturally born with the patience we need to live a godly life. Our patience grows as we become more mature in our walk with Christ. But I can tell you from experience—that growth can be pretty slow at times.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 50 years, and my lack of patience recently stood up and bit me.

Last Saturday, Judy and I went to a local restaurant for breakfast. We go there often and expect a larger crowd during the weekend. The hostess was a sweet young lady, but her native language was not English. Though she tried her best, her inability to communicate with customers slowed up the works—a lot! After 25 minutes we finally got seated.

I wasn’t saying much, but I looked at my watch thinking, “We would normally have our food already. The morning is slipping away, and I’m not getting done what I need to do.”

Judy and I often share a small devotional over our breakfast. Wouldn’t you know it, our selection that morning was Perfect in Christ. The Scripture verse was Colossians 1:28, a powerful reminder that though we are all sinners, the saving work of Jesus at the Cross took away our sins. We are perfect through Christ.

At that moment, as Judy read through the devotion, I wasn’t feeling perfect in Christ—I was feeling convicted of my impatience and poor attitude, especially toward the young lady who was trying her best to seat customers.

My conviction reached its zenith when Judy read these words from the devotion: “Black as thou art, thou shalt be white one day; filthy as thou art, thou shalt be clean. Oh, it is a marvelous salvation this! Christ takes a worm and transforms it into an angel. Christ takes a black and deformed thing and makes it clean and matchless in his glory…”

By that point, my halo had fallen around my ankles. God had exposed my sinfulness, especially my lack of patience. I had even dressed completely in black that morning!

I was tried and convicted by the Lord. But God, in His matchless love and mercy, simply whispered to my spirit, “Scott, I’ve made my point. Go back to the drawing board and do better next time. Don’t stew over your shortcoming. I’ve got this.”

As if that wasn’t comfort enough, when we motioned to our waitress to bring the bill, she leaned over our table and whispered, “Someone here has already paid your bill. They want to remain anonymous.”

We normally see someone we know at this restaurant, but not that morning. Not a soul.

I was again amazed at God’s love, mercy… and patience… toward me.

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