Why Patience Doesn’t Come Naturally

Patience, to put it simply, is counter-intuitive.

“So why is impatience such a problem with me, and perhaps with you? I suppose we could analyze it until we grow impatient with not arriving at an exhaustive answer, but let me reduce the problem to two factors.”

 

How many of you reading this article are by nature patient? Is there anyone who finds patience as natural as breathing? Anyone? Anyone? I’m looking for that man or woman, young or old, who instinctively responds to irritating people and aggravating circumstances with a calm and controlled spirit. Anyone? Anyone? Hmmm. I didn’t think so.

No one comes by patience naturally. No one instinctively responds to adversity and interruptions without at least some measure of irritation and anger. No one encounters opposition to one’s plans without some degree of agitation and frustration. Patience, to put it simply, is counter-intuitive. It is not something with which we are born. It is, instead, a work of God’s grace in the human heart, a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Let me begin with a confession. I’m an impatient man. I hate it, but it’s true. I get frustrated when a train stops on the tracks and I’m delayed 15 minutes or more for an appointment. I get angry when my computer won’t function or when I struggle to connect with the Internet. It happens when I drive and someone won’t get out of my way. It happens when I’m waiting in line and can’t understand why it doesn’t move faster than a snail’s pace. When what I want doesn’t happen when I want, I get irritated. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. Patience seems so unproductive. I often wonder what it’s good for. But then I see the damage it does to others, the hurt it inflicts, and the bad testimony it bears for the Lord Jesus Christ.

So why is impatience such a problem with me, and perhaps with you? I suppose we could analyze it until we grow impatient with not arriving at an exhaustive answer, but let me reduce the problem to two factors.

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