Commonly, we associate patience through waiting. First thing’s first; whoever wants to wait, right? If what we want is already a stretch of hand away, then we would immediately grab it. However, it doesn’t always work that way. That’s why waiting is one thing of a tool to exercise our patience.
Yet today, I would like to talk about learning patience that’s beyond waiting. A patience that we have in dealing different types of people.
Since last year, as we started a Kid’s Bible Class in our home, it has always been a pleasure for us to share Jesus to some children, whose energy is probably ten times our energy combine, in the neighborhood.
During the first sessions, my mother would teach them Bible stories and lessons behind it, and then I do the teaching of the songs and dances, and facilitate their games.
It has always been fun and enjoyable. Until there is this Saturday where I get to teach them Bible stories myself. And trust me. The first one was very challenging.
We held the class every Saturday afternoon and at first, I got a lot of energy to handle them even though some of the little kids just do nothing but walk around bubbling some words I couldn’t even understand.
It was still fun, though, until one Saturday when I can’t even finish a sentence because a 3-year old kid was walking around, grabbing all the books he could find and reach. Seeing that child, almost everyone started to stand and walk around, talking with each other. Others are already shouting, others were playing. And man, my heart was on rage.
So what I did was I grabbed all the chairs, stacked them up, and with their faces wondering, I told them to go home.
“Nobody’s going to listen? No problem. Let’s end everything and go home.“
And aren’t we like that in our relationships?
Sometimes, there are just people whose attitude we can only tolerate but ultimately we end up breaking down the connection and choose to distance ourselves to. There are people whom when once we were offended or pained, we choose to let go of them.
Or maybe we end up pushing them away, outside of our comfort zone, because we’re afraid that having them around might break us more instead of helping us build ourselves.
Yet before ultimately ending everything up, let’s remind ourselves that God is the God of reconciliation. Pray for it.
Their words and actions may hurt and offend us but God wants us to build relationships and not break them. Even when we want to end everything, He wants us to fight for our relationship with that person, with patience.
[Disclaimer: There is a time where you really have to distance yourself, depending on the rule of life preservation. If things go wrong that it lead us to a situation where a life maybe sacrificed, or may end, that’s the time we should go and end the relationship.]
Just like trials, people like them contribute into building our hearts. We realize that they help us exercise our attitude on handling things to be better, instead of breaking us into pieces.
Instead of feeling how much we’ve been hurt, our affection for other people transcends and removes our pain. And that affection teaches us to extend our patience beyond what we’ve had, with more people, with more trials, and with more waiting.
Because how can we improve when we’re not being tested?
Dealing with different kinds of people gives us an internal struggle in our hearts that even when pained, we value relationships even more. We value those people even more because God brought them to us, and us to them, to help and share Hist story to each other. To ultimately love each other.
And just like that one Saturday afternoon, I ended up unstacking the chairs and talked to them calmly. I decided to deal with them with different approach, with more or patience, grace and gentleness. It did not became so peaceful as you may think it was, but the going of the class became better.
I loved these kids and it is my pleasure to share Jesus to them, and be their spiritual mentor. And as I help them grow in God’s grace, they help me grow and extend my patience, not only towards them but also towards other people, and in other situations.
And by the way, is it not always our pleasure to tell the next generation what God has done?