Love, joy, and peace sound nice, right? We can have warm, encouraging, and positive feeling about those virtues and experiences, e.g., “Oh, I’d love more of those!”
But this week, in our season on the Fruit of the Spirit, we come to a Fruit that, maybe, provokes a different type of response: patience.
The fuller meaning of the biblical word that is translated as “patience” is helpful in understanding our reactions. Patience isn’t a calm personality attribute, but rather is/involves:
- a state of emotional quietness in the face of unfavorable circumstances;
- long-suffering, under trial endurance;
- a state of emotional calm in the face of provocation or misfortune and without complaint or irritation;
- slowness in avenging wrongs.
This Sunday, and next week in our Daily Worship Devotions, we turn a story about David (1 Samuel 25) that is all about patience, long-suffering, and losing it. In this story, David is “in the wilderness” and he naturally wants to get out. Biblically, the wilderness is a place of loneliness, confusion, hardship, and stuck-ness. David’s wilderness in 1 Samuel 25 is not a punishment. It’s not the specific consequence of some action he’s taken or failed to take. It’s a place of significant helplessness where the only thing he can do is wrestle with and wait for God.