But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
During my Freshman year of college, a prayer group I was a part of in our dorm all decided we needed more patience. So we prayed for patience. Next thing you know, we are all bogged down with so many responsibilities, we were at our wits’ end. What we neglected to realize is that patience is not gift; it’s a fruit.
Patience is not a feeling we muster in order to handle tough or busy times. It is a virtue that, like a muscle, is strengthened through use. We aren’t given patience so much as develop patience over time.
Of course, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and is ready to give us strength and consolation during times that try us. So with divine strength and joyful, hopeful attitude we can face tough times more easily, producing the fruit of patience to have on hand down the line.
Think of those proverbial old sailors or actual long-time military veterans you know. They often have developed a kind of inner strength over time that allows them to face new challenges as they arise. Similarly, those of us who travel faithfully alongside Jesus, who’ve face many a spiritual conflict with some success, we can draw on those resources of patience the Spirit has exercised in us when new trials come along.
So if you’re feeling weak in the face current challenges, check your spiritual health. See if there is already patience from prior spiritual victories that have built up a reserve to face what you’re facing now. If you sense your patience is insufficient to the task at hand, then pray for Jesus to strengthen you and grant you a sense of peace that surpasses understanding so you can develop the virtue, the fruit of patience. Be hopeful, for the Lord is working in you to bring about his good and perfect will.
Lord of all hopefulness, let the fruit of patience emerge in me to face the challenges of this day, and where I am lacking, strengthen and encourage me by your Spirit as I rest in your changeless love. Amen.