“Lord, give me patience.” That seems to be the prayer that I’m saying most often lately. In my normal life, pre- coronavirus, I have variety in my day. I go to work/church, stores, the gym, kids’ schools and restaurants. But now I work from home, workout from home, home school my kids and eat every meal from home. I used to see a lot of people during my day: church staff, friends at the gym and people out and about. Now, I see my family and really only my family. We’re trapped in the house with the same people day in and day out.
Then, the days come when I’m trying to home school my kids, watch my preschooler whose favorite word right now is “no,” and write a sermon at the same time. It takes me ten minutes to explain an assignment that takes the kids two minutes to finish. I think I answer 1,256 questions an hour. Nothing entertains my preschooler except being on my lap singing to me. And my kids-turned-students are hungry all the time! My patience is low, very low.
I get frustrated and want to go back to my normal life – the way things used to be. A couple weeks ago, I was at the end of my rope, I didn’t’ know how I was going to make it through all of this craziness. I had no other choice than to fall on my knees and ask God for patience.
The answer came in a conversation I had with a neighbor, of course, standing six feet apart. We were talking about regret. There is very little in my life that I regret. I have had an amazing and, I think, an adventurous life. But my only regret comes by not spending as much time as possible with my children. (And maybe the amount of hairspray I used in the early 90s.) I regret not taking a longer maternity leave. I regret getting frustrated with my kids when all they wanted was my attention.
In James, we read about patience in the suffering. He talks about a farmer’s patience as the crops grow. The farmer waits for the rain and the plants to bud and then yield fruit. He also talks about the patience of Job who endured through suffering to see the Lord’s compassion. This Holy Week we waited for the rising of our Lord out of the grave. And we were reminded that we wait in hope for the coming of our God again.
Therefore, during this time of suffering and not being able to live our normal lives, may God give us patience. May our frustration turn into spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen. May we find a closer relationship with whom we share this life. May God let us see the gifts that we have in the people that surround us. May we have patience knowing that this time will be short, and this time will end.
James 5:7-11 New International Version (NIV)
Patience in Suffering
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Lord, give us patience! When things seem overwhelming and we desire to get back to life as usual, give us endurance. Help us to see the gifts that surround us.