HOW TO HANG ON?
A fourth desirable characteristic for a favorable Attitude is patience (Galatians 5:22). It is the ability and willingness to hang on or respond in difficult and different conditions and circumstances. Since we are all different, so is patience. Many of us are in a hurry and require breaks. Just as many or more are too slow and need to be pushed. In either case, we shall find that God moves with us at our speed. The Bible encourages us to wait on the Lord and He shall direct our path (Psalms 37:34). The people that were inspired to write about patience, learned from their own failures to be patient. They had fortified themselves with faith hope and love in God and only few were allowed to see their patience rewarded in this life (Hebrews 11). Of course, we are not the Biblical Patriarchs or the Saints and we are on a much shorter leash of patience. Nevertheless, we are just as much in need of patience as they were and it is up to us to acquire it and make use of it. Those of us that do can cool our temper and become lesser fools. A physician had this advice, “Gentlemen, let us not hurry; we have no time to lose” (Wa. 2311).
Patience is the agent that helps us endure or forebear and even fortify against occurrences and incidents that derail us from being too hasty or even too slow in our responses to the unexpected. We have to ready ourselves and develop an attitude that can display the proper patience at the proper time. When things happen, we shall react or respond immediately. If the men that rescued me from drowning and from being burned alive in a fire had delayed slightly, I would not be writing these articles. What was amazing is that only one out of a group knew what to do, while I was drowning and two out of thirty men when I was aflame from my knees to my head. That tells us something how ill prepared we are in a time of crisis. Most of us do not respond well in a crisis; but how well do we respond in merely making a decision. Just how good have our choices been? How much time have we taken to analyze our options? How long have we sat on a decision and when the time forced us to be come hasty, we made the wrong choice. It is precisely when we make a bad choice that patience can assist us to make the best of it and turn it into a successful resolution. We can win people over and gain recognition by being patient while we apply ourselves to our choices wholeheartedly.
I happen to believe that the Creator endowed us with the ability to develop a patience that matches our character or attitude. God, Himself, is patient and forbearing (II Peter 3:9). He even gave us a day to do the preparing. We know it as the Sabbath or a day of rest. It is a time when we ought to meditate and examine what our attitude needs in order to be of better use in our behavior and relationships within a rather complex society. Just how patient are we with each other. Just think about our driving a vehicle this past week? How many people were we ready to punch? These were just minor disruptions. How would we have reacted, if they had been major? Jesus reminded us that the Sabbath was for man and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). For most of us, the Sabbath has become the busiest day in our lives. We have filled it with activities that take the other six days to help us recuperate. Is it any wonder that we have become an impatient society? Not only that, but we have also become a people that expect others to make choices that shall not rattle our nerves. We have no intention to adjust our patience. We expect others to do and give us things that shall ease ours. Nobody or gift or substitute can give us patience. We must develop it ourselves. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow depicted us well, “What secret trouble stirs they heart? Why all this fret and flurry? Dost thou not know what is best in this too restless world is rest from overwork and hurry (Wa.2334)?” We will not find it in noisy churches where both people and pastor bring their problems.
Think not nor assume that I must be a very patient man. I am not and I have never been. It was two months before my fifteenth birthday. The Nazis had ordered me to report at their military camp. A German officer, in retreat from Russia, cautioned patience and my mother stopped me from obeying the order. Some of those lads that went never came back. Fortunately, we had to evacuate and flee from the Red Army and my mother very likely escaped the Nazi firing squad. At 82, I consume 110mgs to ease my hyper – tension. I have acquired this condition myself without any help from anyone else. I, too, have been at times too hasty or too slow to apply the kind of patience that would have calmed my temper. Experts send me to my woodshed to let out my feelings and air out my thoughts, but all that did was raise my blood pressure. It simply was not the proper use of rest. I could not lower my stress-level with more stress. It may work for you while it did not for me. I need a calm environment where I can shut out the world and be alone with myself and with my faith in a God that helps me treat my nerves with a genuine outpouring of my heart. It is letting go of feelings, apprehensions, burdens, mistakes absolutions for things and deeds I no longer can absolve. It is when nothing is in my path that reminds me of guilt or things I left undone that I am in a patient state of mind towards my fellow human beings. About God I am never quite certain because He is not as forgetful as I am. Fortunately, He is loving and merciful towards people like me with short fuses. He promised to accept those of us that have a change of heart by being patient with others. As long as there is some obstacle in my past, I cannot be very patient with myself and even less so with others. What I am within me reflects what I am with others. Ben Hur in Lew Wallace’s novel told his noble Roman, “The noble Arrius forgets that the spirit had much to do with endurance. By its help the weak sometimes thrive when the strong perish” (Wa.2203).