Over the last six months, most of us have probably experienced some COVID-related frustrations that have tried our patience.
I remember in the early days of the pandemic, my local supermarket introduced a policy that customers would have to pack their own bags and that the next person couldn’t put their groceries on the conveyor belt until the previous person had left the area. I tried to remain patient while the dear old lady in front of me meticulously picked up each item in the baggage area, studied it and then packed it in just the right bag. The checkout operator and other customers weren’t allowed to help, so it must have been hard for this older shopper to sort through her dozens of items. But after a few minutes, I was thinking, ‘For goodness sake, just toss them in your trolley and sort them out when you get to your car. There’s a queue!’
Patience is clearly not my best fruit of the Spirit, but in today’s passage, we’re told to clothe ourselves ‘with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’ (v. 12). and to ‘bear with one another’ (v. 13).
Living in close quarters with others in lockdown can cause tensions to bubble up. Having to follow COVID-safe procedures in the community can be frustrating. Not being able to do some of the things we want to do can be disheartening. But getting impatient with others is not going to make things better. It just adds another unpleasant layer to an already difficult situation.
The Apostle Paul understood God’s grace in such times.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life (1 Tim. 1:16).
Now is the perfect time to extend that same grace and patience to others.
Dear Lord, thank you for your infinite patience with us. Help us to show that same patience to others in these frustrating times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.