'Patience' - Matthew 26 v 36 - 46

Fruits of the Spirit: 'Patience' - Matthew 26 v36-46, Isaiah 30v15-18, James 5v 7-12 A challenging subject if you’re the sort of person who likes to get things done, ticked off a list, who likes to do things quickly, who is driven -like me! I had my patience tested today-it came back negative! You know those people who can’t wait for seed to grow so they buy turf-they want instant grassification! I’m probably testing your patience by now. Are we more impatient nowadays? We have instant porridge, instant coffee, instant meals, instant communication-everything done in a hurry, in a rush. This sometimes leads to misunderstanding and hurt especially with hastily sent emails.... Put up your hand if you’ve never become impatient- Ringing the doctor?Waiting to be served?In a car? With your children/partner/friend?With yourself? Why are we in such a hurry? Why do we have competitions to see how fast we are? Are you a ‘hurry up’ person? Being impatient feels anxious, pressured and stressed and often leads to angry outbursts and/or tears. God says through Isaiah, “in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it, you’d rather rush off on fast horses’ I think that Alfie was given to me to teach me patience. For the last 20 years I’ve had Labradors, dogs that want to play, walk and eat at tremendous speed and with great enthusiasm! When I suggest a walk to Alfie, it’s as if he’s saying, ‘What? Really? Now?’ then he seems to sigh as he slowly gets out of his basket and creeps reluctantly towards me. In the park (30 minutes later!) he has to stop, investigate, observe, take time, be careful and very independent. I can learn from him. Patience is our ability to wait, to trust and not to rush to fix. The pandemic has tried our patience so much and made the following situations, and many more, much worse- waiting for results, waiting for an appointment, waiting to have a baby, waiting for a prayer to be answered, to be able to travel, waiting to get married, to move house, for a new job, waiting to die, waiting for a loved one to die..... I wonder what you are waiting for today? It’s hard to wait when we want an outcome, when the pain is unbearable, when the discomfort feels too much, when we want to know, when we want to be certain. We want to fix it, to make it better, to get it over. God says through Isaiah, “in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it, you’d rather rush off on fast horses’ (the Egyptian horse was the fastest mode of transport) God was saying, repent, wait, rest, trust, be strong in me, but the people would rather rush off and try to fix things themselves. They didn’t accept or understand- “Yet the Lord LONGS to be gracious to you, he rises to show you compassion. Blessed are all who wait on Him” v.18 God’s patience with us is limitless. A powerboat will get you somewhere fast. A sailing boat depends on the wind conditions, you have to wait, to watch the wind, to go where it takes you, sometimes you are in the doldrums and then you have to wait for the wind to blow again. The Holy Spirit is often compared to the wind. What is the Spirit saying to us? In the Gethsemane passage in Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples to sit down, to stay where they are, to keep watch and to pray while he goes and prays for his life. He is in agony and he has to remind them of his instructions three times. They are sleepy. Often we seem to oscillate between apathy and over action. Waiting on God is active. Active waiting includes watching. We need to be awake. The disciples waited for the resurrection, they waited for the Spirit, we wait for the return of Jesus, we wait to be back to pre-Covid church, we wait for revival..... What can we learn about ourselves when we are impatient, how can we grow in this area of cultivating patience? Do I feel that I am more important than other people? Am I selfish ? Am I competitive?How much do I need to control others/my environment/my family/ situation/ time/ God? Can we transform our impatience by gratefulness? Whilst waiting for an appointment-‘Thank you, Lord that I live in a country that has an amazing NHS’. In a supermarket -‘Thank you, Lord that I have money to buy food for my family?’ There are 5 gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and you are the fifth. How do people read you? The fruit of the Spirit is patience.

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