There was a saying that floated around a close group of my friends back when I was a Protestant – “Don’t pray for patience unless you want to be given a chance to test it”. This grew out of our experiences seeing others continually asking for help from God with their patience but complaining whenever they got into a situation where they had to try it. These folk obviously had a different idea on the result they wanted (humans are funny like that sometimes) more like “take away any situation where I need to be patient from me so life is really easy”.
Now as an Orthodox Christian I see the desire and need to struggle with the passions and the frustration and occasional anger from my impatience is one of the biggest ones I have. Saying that I still don’t regularly thrown in petitions for patience into my prayer life.
Well, it wasn’t me but I am sure someone was praying for patience for me last week.
Regular(ish) trip down to Melbourne became an intense struggle with frustration. Moved the flight first to avoid industrial action with the airline (silly me thinks I can fix everything). The night before I get a text message saying my flight has been cancelled for the next day. Rang them up and got on another flight. Next morning that flight comes in late, then has a series of electrical troubles and we end up on a different plane. We finally get airborne 3 hours late and we end up in a holding pattern near Melbourne.
Eventually I hit Melbourne around 1.30pm, just in time (without prep) for my 2pm customer meeting, somewhat frazzled and beside myself.
For once though I felt a bit more of a sense of calm. I had some time to wait between announcements of more delays and took the opportunity to pray, and then do some work. By the time I hit the hotel after the day in the office I again took part of the night off to contemplate in prayer before I hit the laptop again. While the project manager blood in my veins runs strong, I cannot control every variable in the universe and you just have to leave things in the hands of the Lord sometimes.
Irrespective, I do hope this week goes a little smoother 😉
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-8, ESV)