During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection each weekday.
I’m getting tired of hearing, ‘We’re living in unprecedented times.’ The ‘coronavirus excitement’ has worn off for me a long time ago. I’m more than ready to move on from this.
What about you? Are you tired of doing school at home, and want to go back to school with ‘real people’ again? Have you had enough of circles and line-ups at the grocery and hardware stores?
We’re getting impatient with social isolation measures. We don’t want anybody to talk to us anymore about ‘bending the COVID curve.’
Wives are weary of their husbands hanging around home, working out of a makeshift office somewhere in a corner of the house. People are tired of live-streamed worship services and trying to sing with 2 other people who can’t hold a tune. We want real church again.
Grandparents think it’s about time they see their grandchildren again. Zoom visits are getting old. There’s the frustration of moving toward the 7th week of nursing home lockdown.
And we’re losing patience with our governments. We’ve had enough of stay-at-home orders and wonder about their wisdom and helpfulness. Governments are hesitant to re-open civic life and let us get back to work, back to shopping, and back to the park. We’re tempted to ‘serve’ our governments as armchair quarterbacks who see much more clearly than they how they should handle the virus.
Police are witnessing a marked increase in signs of social unrest. Some officers have been overeager to enforce quarantine rules and have charged hefty fines for tiny infractions. A teenager skateboarding alone in a parking lot gets stopped by police. Patience with our authorities is wearing thin.
Public protests are mounting for workplace opening. Our society in on the verge of a pandemic of contract disputes and lawsuits. The fight against a disease is quickly turning into a fight against people.
As Christians, it’s time to put on (again) the Christian grace of patience. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12) Patience is much different than mere tolerance. Patience is pursuing God-glorifying change with trust in God and love for neighbour, and without complaining, raging and malice.
Patience wants to do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason.
It is Jesus Christ’s special gift. He is the Patient One, the Longsuffering One who died for our sin of impatience and rose again to give us the new life of patience. When you entrust your life to Jesus in faith, one of the gifts He gives you is patience. He gives you this gift through His Holy Spirit.
Let me offer four ways for us to handle life patiently:
- Patience prays. Patience prays for people. Patience prays for change. I spoke with my Member of Provincial Parliament yesterday about the government’s challenge of pushing the reset button. Our leaders grapple with a wide variety of scientific and popular views which are diametrically opposed. He asked us to pray for wisdom.
- Patience waits. Patience waits for the Lord to work in you and in others. Patience waits for the Lord to make people ready. Instead of lashing out in rage, anger, brawling and slander (Ephesians 4:31) when things don’t go as quickly as you want them to, patience works and speaks, but always waits on the Lord to make things happen.
- Patience gives thanks. In the press for things to change, don’t forget to thank God for the gift of government, the gift of health care, the gift of internet, the gift of Zoom, the gift of teachers who are willing to invest their time and energy into online learning, the gift of family and friends, and above all that great gift of Christian hope that lifts our hearts above the noise of this world to the sure promise of eternal life with God through Jesus Christ. Instead of grumbling and complaining, patience give thanks.
- Patience forbears and forgives. After calling us to put on patience, Jesus adds: Bear with each other and if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13)
In the pressure cooker of the virus with all its unknowns, uncertainties, and weirdness, we have had to deal with many human weaknesses, misjudgments, failures and sins. Patience forbears with people’s weaknesses and seeks to forgive those who sinned against us.
In our patience may be Jesus Christ, who is so forbearing and forgiving with us His children, be magnified.
In the conflict and noise of re-opening civic life, the sin of impatience will tempt us. But for Christ’s glory and your neighbour’s good, clothe yourself with patience.