Patience is often referred to as something that can be lost – as in “you are really causing me to lose my patience.” But how would it sound if you were to say “you are really causing me to lose my love for you?” If love is patient, then “losing” patience can be equated to losing love. Said this way the idea of losing patience is not a pretty one.
A working definition of patience is living in the expectation of God’s care. Patience is part of the Spirit’s fruit. Patience is the opposite of frustration. Patience is a sure belief that God will not abandon you. No matter what the circumstance God’s love and care for you is never in doubt. Patience, like the other gifts of the Holy Spirit’s fruit, is always there to be embraced. Patience can never be lost. You can chose to doubt God’s care for you, but patience is always there for you.
Both toddlers and teenagers are equally adept in calling for patience to be deployed. You see love is not just a mindset, but a particular action that God commands us to take. Biblical love is not a natural thing. We can naturally love ice cream. We cannot naturally be patient. Biblical patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It cannot be modeled by sitting on a rocker on the front porch. It is modeled by a deep abiding trust that God will care for me as I seek to be a faithful parent.
Patience means that my failures as a parent never cancel out the commitment of Jesus Christ to love me and care for me.
So, when Paul describes what love is he begins with patience. Any specific situation we face in raising our children can be challenging and overwhelming. The first step to addressing the problem with love is to believe that God will care for you. You can believe that God has wisdom in his word that will exactly fit the situation at hand. You can trust God as you cry out to him for help. You can be patient!