Does anyone, besides me, have a problem with patience?
I’m one of those people who wish for patience, and I want it right now! That’s not how it works though, is it? It’s said that patience is a virtue, somehow that part about it being a virtue escapes me. When you’re short on patience it feels like anything but a virtue.
I’ve been in the process of moving, it seems like forever. I finally got a lot of stuff re-homed and pared down what seemed like “a mountain of things,” as Tracy Chapman has crooned about. I got my home sold, and am waiting to close on my new place. Everything was set for signing today, and I got word yesterday there was a glitch on the seller’s side and some document he had not signed. I was told I probably wouldn’t be able to close on the date expected. Arrrrgh! The utilities have been scheduled to be turned on, the movers are scheduled to bring my belongings (and if not on date scheduled it would be a week or more before they can reschedule), and some other furniture I’ve bought is now out of stock and won’t be available until late in May! Its frustrating, and vexing, and maddening, and any other adjective I can think of.
I guess the more I want patience, the more God is providing opportunities for me to exercise it.
I believe the reason patience comes so hard to me is because I feel so out of control when things don’t go my way. Maybe the virtue in patience is found in the old adage of “letting go, and letting God.” When I give over my frustration to God, it does seem as if I can let go of the anxiety and tension that builds up in me. Maybe the virtue is in leaning on God, letting God work out the things that are beyond my control. Maybe I can find a place of rest, and peace, and harmony in God, in spite of those things that aren’t working out on my timetable.
So, yesterday we heard the verdict in the murder trial where George Floyd lost his life. Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts. This was an enormous relief to Mr. Floyd’s family and supporters. It feels like justice has been achieved in a time when justice has seemed to elude many person’s of color who have lost their lives. So often the wheels of justice have turned very slow for our African-American sisters and brothers. They have languished while being told to be patient, a more just society is coming. On yesterday, they saw a glimmer of hope. Patience had been used to subjugate and dismiss their pleas for justice. Patience is never a virtue when it comes denying justice to those who are oppressed and being slaughtered.
I am thanking God for the verdict that brings that glimmer of hope to the community. Dr. Martin Luther King reminds us “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We are a people who need to see justice done, not denied. Justice brings accountability to all persons.
In Amos 5: 24 we’re told, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Justice cannot bring George Floyd back to his family and friends, but it can bring a sense that his death was not in vain. I pray for all those who loved and miss Mr. Floyd. His life was cut short, but may his presence be forever with them.
You may remember when the Navy Seal Team 6 shot and killed Osama Bin Laden. President Barack Obama cautioned all of us that was not a day for celebrating. We do not celebrate the death of any human being. We were to take solace in the fact that justice was done and that evil was put to rest. The same is true here for Derek Chauvin. We should not be celebrating his guilty verdict, that he will be punished for his actions. We should feel that accountability has come to bear in his life. We should pray for Mr. Chauvin, that as justice has rolled down like waters, hopefully in his time of incarceration he will come to acknowledge his wrongdoing.
We look too often, and want too quickly retribution against evil-doers. We are not patient with God and God’s meting out of justice. God is still in control and will work in God’s time. Redemption is a powerful force for those who seek it. It comes to those who patiently seek it. I pray that Mr. Chauvin will seek God’s redemption.
May God continue to well up in each of us the virtue of patience in all our interactions with one another. God is always patient with us, may we do likewise to others.
Blessings and Peace,