It is important to recognize that any frustrating situation that requires patience is God’s gift to you. A gift that, if received with the right attitude, will present the opportunity to spend some time in God’s waiting room practicing patience. Hey, that’s not all bad! Frustration is often God’s way of driving us to Him.
I was standing at a ticket counter in a large American city presenting my tickets for a missions trip to Europe. “There is a problem,” the agent said. We then began a long irritating talk about all the things that were wrong with the itinerary, the tickets, and everything else, it seemed.
In vain I pointed out that I had spent six months making sure everything was right so that there would not be a problem. I could see that I was going to miss the plane and the first leg of the trip. Then who knew what would happen to the rest of the tickets? I felt my anxiety level rising. I prayed (briefly) and resumed the argument. How could this situation be a gift to me from God? Was it not rather from the devil? As if I was having a side conversation with God, I began to debate this with the Almighty while I argued with the girl.
“Lord,” I said petulantly, “why is this happening? This girl is so irritated with me, and I am so irritated with her. Sort her out, Lord!”
“You sort her out, Jill,” I distinctly heard Him say! “And do it with grace, sweetness, and patience!” I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to have the girl’s superior rebuke her, show her how right I was the whole time, and get me on that plane! Suddenly, I recognized what was happening. This situation was God’s gift to me. It was a mini-workshop at the start of my day. For this I needed Jesus, but for this I had Jesus!
Perhaps I was the only Christian this girl had ever met. (Now that was a scary thought!) Drawing on the Spirit for grace and patience, I smiled at the girl. She looked at me in amazement. “Look,” I said. “I’m sorry for my impatience. This is a very important trip, and I am getting really anxious. But I know you need to do your job. Is there some way we can find a quick solution?”
Without a word, she beckoned me through the door into her supervisor’s office. The problem was solved, and I caught my plane!
You win half the battle already when you recognize the problem as a gift. It is a gift because these types of situations enable you to experience the love of God in a special way. People are receptive when they are struggling with frustration. If they are expecting others to act with frustration, they cave in if you exhibit kindness. If you can go beyond sounding kind to being kind and doing an outrageous act of kindness, this speaks louder than a thousand words. IT can open people up to hear about the Lord. Think of Mother Teresa and how her practical acts of love on the streets of Calcutta spoke about the love of Christ to the dying and destitute.
The parable of the Good Samaritan gives us a picture of kindness. The Jews hated the Samaritans, but when a Samaritan found a Jew robbed and beaten and left for dead in a ditch, he got off his donkey to help him. He was amazingly kind to the man. That is the picture Jesus gives us of loving others with agape love.
Kindness is the active part of patience. Patience is being good and kindness is doing good. The helpful thing about doing good is that you don’t’ have to wait till you feel like doing good to do it. Try doing it when you don’t feel like it. Like the Samaritan, get off your high horse (or donkey), get down in the ditch, and bind up someone’s broken heart with a practical act of kindness – doing things you don’t need to do, things that no one expects you to do, the things that go far beyond the call of duty.
Think on God’s infinite kindness to you. Then go and find someone to be patient and kind to!
Just Between Us Magazine