What Manner of Man
(A weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ)
By Richard M. Eyre
WEEK 44: PATIENCE
Nothing is more destructive of the peace and the calm previously discussed than impatience. The clear, light window of tranquility can be shattered in an instant by the hard, dark stone of impatience.
Peace is preserved only as patience persists. Christ is the incredibly supreme example here because no one has ever had more excuse for impatience, yet no one has even been more totally free from it.
Consider how impatient (n fact, impatience is too mild a world) one would normally become:
—when his finest gifts are rejected by those to whom they are given;
—when his closest friends misunderstand his most important words;
—when those who seem loyal prove disloyal;
—when people forget, in a matter of days, miracles the like of which they have never before seen;
—when he gives all and has little or nothing returned;
—when he is denied by the man he has chosen to lead his organization.
We have all felt intolerance and impatience when our children, our friends, or anyone, for that matter, simply cannot understand or do something that to us is so easy or obvious.
The Master was above and somehow far beyond impatience. His spirit and peace were so deep that surface irritations were simply overpowered and engulfed by his calm.
He was like the perfect big brother who loves his little sister so totally that he helps her up each time she stumbles, wipes her eyes, encourages her—with the thought of irritation or impatience never crossing his mind.
Because of the Master’s complete love, there was always a definite and clear line between his concerned, anxious desire for people to understand and any sign of impatience. When Philip missed a point about Christ’s sameness with the Father, He said, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” (John 14:9), but no doubt it was said with deep concern and love, not with ridicule or impatience. Even with the doubting Thomas there was no hint of impatience in the reply, “Be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).
To the Lord, humble sinners were to be helped and loved. When his indignation broke forth, it sprang not from impatience with those needing help, but as a powerful combat against Satan’s evil and hypocrisy which he saw as the vulture waiting to destroy those who had fallen from the nest.
Today, perhaps one of the greatest illustrations of this quality of the Lord is his patience with our impatience.