Quick Tips for Impatience

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This week I discovered that you should never be in a hurry when cleaning out the dishwasher. I stabbed myself four times with the same fork. I’ve also realized that impatience is not a virtue while you’re trimming toenails, cutting your daughter’s hair, or changing the oil in your car. It’s very important that you remember to put that little plug back in the bottom of the engine before driving away. A gallon of Quaker State’s finest is not something you want to spread all over your driveway.

I get impatient with my spiritual life too. Lessons I thought I’d learned years ago I have to learn again. I know God is at work, but it’s slow going sometimes. I’m impatient. Just last week, something went badly wrong with my computer and when I booted the thing up each morning, well, I felt like using a boot. I called my friend Mark who is a genius in this department. He was gone, so I started each morning irritated, waiting for this stupid computer. Beside my computer is a book called the Bible. I thought, Pick it up. Read it. And finally, I did.

Before long, I was encouraged, strengthened, convicted, and deepened. Just before Mark arrived to fix my computer, I Philippians 1:6 reminded me that good things take time:

“And I am certain that God, who began a good work in you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Ruth Bell Graham, wife of Billy Graham was born in China to missionary parents. In 2007 she was laid to rest in a simple plywood casket with a cross on top, crafted by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary. Family friends marked her grave with a natural fieldstone from the mountains of North Carolina. If ever you see it, the words engraved at the bottom will make you smile.

After an irritating wait in a construction zone, Ruth noticed a sign beside the road. She said, “That’s what I want on my gravestone.” I remind myself of the words she chose when I’m in slow traffic, frustrated and impatient when God doesn’t seem to be acting or listening. It’s a reminder that He is doing good things in us, and He will carry it on to completion.

“End of construction, thank you for your patience.”

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