I Want Patience, and I Want it NOW

Wait a second . . . longsuffering, the fourth fruit, is a good thing? Ouch! Sounds pretty painful, doesn’t it?

It can be, but not necessarily. And this word is often used interchangeably with patience, so let’s dispense with the King James English and just call this fruit “patience.”

Have you ever prayed for more patience?  That tends to be a dangerous prayer, because then things come into your life to challenge your patience. Of course, without being challenged, patience has no opportunity to grow. I always chuckle when read the bumper sticker that says, “Lord, give me patience—right now!”  But we know fruit doesn’t grow instantaneously.

In scripture, patience often is associated with faith. James 1:3-4 says that the trying of your faith produces patience, so let patience have its perfect work. Let it grow! Let faith grow, too.

Most of the time when scripture mentions patience, it’s talking about relationships. Let’s face it, that’s where we need patience the most. Sometimes I wonder if some people who are so completely devoted to their pets do so because they haven’t got the patience for human relationships.

A dog is a great companion, very patient with its owners’ moods.

a patient friendPeople, often not so much! Those relationships can get pretty messy.




Now think about how incredibly patient God is. Haven’t you put Him through a lot? I have. It took forever for me to realize how much He loved me. To see His hand of care in my life. To admit I couldn’t do it on my own. But He never condemned me.

He just kept on loving me . . . with patience.


Patience is another of the fruit that doesn’t identify itself until it is challenged. You never know how much patience you’ve allowed to grow until you need it. Then you may be surprised at how much you do have.

I’ve heard moms say that they never realized how much patience raising children would take, that they never believed they were patient enough to be good moms. But something happened along the way: patience grew. family togetherThe evidence of its presence was there, sometimes not even obvious to the mom, but clear to those around her. Especially if they knew her before she was married and had children. Before the patience was continually challenged.



How do we get patience? We ask for help, for God to be patient through us. When something comes against our carefully nurtured, saintly self-image, we go to the Source of patience. Then when we are past the test, we look inward. Chances are we will see a bit of growth. If not, we are patient with ourselves and we go through the process again. And again. Until patience has its perfect work in us.

It always seems hardest to have patience with yourself, doesn’t it? Even Paul had an issue with this. Can’t you feel a bit of his irritation when he writes, “What I am doing, I do not understand . . . oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:15-24 NKJV).  Then he answers his own question. It is only Christ who can deliver us from ourselves. And He will.

When we let that happen, the fruit of patience will grow. Watch for it. Patiently.

This is part 6 of an 11 part series on the fruit of the spirit

Next time: Kindness

Part 1| Fruit-Tastic!

Part 2| How Does Your Garden Grow?

Part 3| But I Can’t Even Love Myself!

Part 4| Put on a Happy Face?

Part 5| In the Eye of the Hurricane

Part 7| Who Gets the Credit?


all illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net