I asked God to teach me patience, so He made me one. A patient, that is.
Patience is most frustrating and best learned when things are out of our control. Think about it – when we’re ill or have a situation that requires medical help, we are powerless to get things moving.
Earlier this year, I noticed a bump on my thigh and asked my doctor about it. She referred me to a dermatologist, and I had to wait for an appointment, then wait for a pathology report.
When it was finally diagnosed as a malignant melanoma, I was at the mercy of the surgeon’s schedule to get in and remove all affected tissue. I couldn’t do it at home, and all the surgeries that were delayed last year due to the pandemic were taking up all the time slots available. So, I had to wait two months for my turn.
After surgery, I had to wait for healing. (There were other complications along the way, which really tried my patience, but I won’t go into details here. Way TMI.)
There was not much I could do. Couldn’t resume normal activities due to the pain. Couldn’t go anywhere for a few weeks. Couldn’t lift anything heavier than twenty pounds, so I couldn’t help a friend move to her new house. (Maybe that was a blessing.)
But I want healing now.
But I want to be with my friends.
But I want to resume my walking regimen.
But I want . . .
Then I realized God was giving me what I needed, not what I wanted. I may have wanted freedom from pain and seclusion, but God knew I needed peace, quiet, and isolation for a while. He knew my tendency to overschedule and run from one commitment to another, so he provided time for me to just be.
Psalm 46:10 tells us, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Well, okay, I’ll be still. Mainly because I have no other choice. I know that healing comes from him, but it requires time and–-you guessed it-–patience.
Sometimes patience is something we conjure up, like when we’re stuck in traffic or waiting for a friend who is late. We can just take a deep breath and let go of what little control we thought we had because we know that getting upset isn’t going to help the situation.
At other times, patience is thrust upon us. That’s when we can turn to God and thank Him for providing the time we need to take that deep breath we’ve been holding and let him take control.
You know what? When I learn patience, I’m much more relaxed and calmer. And I smile more. Too bad I couldn’t learn that without all the surgery and other medical drama.
Patience makes life much more bearable. And makes it easier to smile.