The legendary living old tree at our "ranch," in the middle of Texas.
WE CHOOSE TO BE PATIENT, EVEN WHEN WE FEEL LIKE GETTING OUR OWN WAY.
Memory Verse: "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who captures a city." Proverbs 16:32
Gnarly branches twist and turn all around the trunk of our mysterious ancient tree, that whispered to us of old untold stories hidden. it held the mystique of the generations it had witnessed, but hid from our sight. Surely, as it stood in a cattle tank and was well watered, it knew the lives of those living in the 75 year old farm house just standing amongst relative trees in the near distance. Standing in the hidden brush of some property our family owns right in the middle of Texas, it was a hiking point on our evening walks. Most of the trees on our 200 acres are small scrub oak--yet this is the grand daddy of all the trees! When the kids and Clay and I first discovered it for ourselves, we could not believe how amazingly large it is. With our whole family holding hands around the tree, we could not even totally enclose the circumference. It is much larger even than it looks in this picture that my brother-in-law, Wiley Clarkson, took!
The stories this tree could tell if it could talk! It has grown and given shade to many people through the years, but it is thought to have lasted generations. Yet, this gigantic tree, started out as a little spring of a tree, but with all the potential of becoming large, old and grand at its inception. But it took a very, very long time. This tree grew through storms, draught, tornadoes and lightening. The tree has a story to tell now, since it has lasted longer than all of the other trees that are long gone. But to tell this grand story, it had to be patient to live well and strong through all the decades.
As I have been reflecting on my life, in order, hopefully, to make the next several years intentional. However, I have been quite blessed to look back on my life and see that God has taken all of the years and made them fruitful and productive. Most days, I could not see the growth, even months, I could not see the growth. Yet, over the years, God was building a legacy through our family, our children, our ministry and our writing and speaking--but each day was lived and invested one day at a time, waiting, hoping, that our faithfulness mattered.
There were seemingly desolate times of illness, loneliness, financial issues, emotional hurts and separation from other "Christians" that broke our heart. And yet, God kept saying, daily in our quiet times,
"Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." Psalm 27: 14
Rare, if any, is the verse that says, "Give up now--this is the time." or "Don't be patient with those immature, irrational people in your life--you deserve to quit since life is hard!"
Quite the contrary--wait, hope, work, be steadfast, cultivate faithfulness--wait and you will see God.
God, through allowing us to wait, is building faith, leadership, spiritual muscle, maturity, messages, and a platform that will become the messages the Spirit wants to teach us so we can be a blessing with others.
Patience is learned moment by moment in irritating circumstances. It is learned through seasons--(terrible twos, tricky teens, hormonal middle age, old age senility). Teaching your child little by little to be patient, to control His spirit, to exercise self-control, is training your child to learn to wait on God.
Contemporary culture gives us permission to compromise at every point--marriage, commitments, ideals, friendship--we want instant gratification--we are the generation of "I want it now."
Yet, God's will is to build the character of Christ in us and His way is to teach us to wait--to rule over our emotions and to be still and know that "He is God."
Patience leads to all sorts of strength--spiritual, mental, physical, skill acquisition, (musical accomplishment, athletic strength, academic prowess, financial security) so many blessings come through learning to be patient.
In the end, the man of medium skill and talent who perseveres is of much greater long term value than the talented, skillful person who quits and gives up.
So as we approach this important way, we must look for all sorts of ways to underline the importance of patience, ruling over our emotions, waiting on God patiently, practicing patience with those who push our buttons. Valuing patience is valuing spiritual maturity.
And so, as you instruct your children in this important virtue, be patient as it takes them time to learn this character strength! :)
What an amazing verse--a slow to anger person, one who controls his spirit, is better, stronger, more rare than a person able to capture a whole city--in other words, he who is patient, will win the day.
In what areas do you find it most difficult to be patient?
I am not naturally patient. I wasted many precious seasons of my life wishing them away, someone thinking the next season would be easier. God taught me slowly. Now, I seek more to pace myself and to see each miracle each day. It is still not easy as I am a "fast-paced" person, but I just wish I had not wasted so much time trying to hurry things that needed time to grow, and just enjoyed the process more.
God is with you, God is building you and your children and your vision, God will be faithful when you wait on Him.
Have you been enjoying the study of Our 24 Family Ways this summer? There is still time to join us as we learn about them all, and if you'd like to catch up, click the image to link back to all the posts in the series.