Love in its many forms usually requires lot of patience
Faith & Values: Love, in its many forms and functions, requires a lot of waiting.
Special to The Seattle Times
Faith & Values
There should be a special trophy case for men who’ve had to wait on their wives (thank you, Don) and women who always wait on their husbands down through the years of marriage.
With St. Valentine's Day just ahead, I’ve been thinking about the attributes of love again. First Corinthians 13 is often called the Bible's “love chapter.” Verse 4 says:
Love is patient and kind.
Version — ESV)
Most amorous relationships start with passion, but require patience if they're to last and be successful. The best lovers are good “wait-ers.” (Ummm ... not necessarily the kind that take your food order.)
Passion may light the fire, but patience keeps it burning brightly through the long-night seasons that are a part of any relational commitment.
The Bible contains a number of love stories and the one in Genesis 29 is an interesting one. Just like today, this love story is messy, a little strange and very complicated.
Jacob has fallen hard for Laban's daughter, Rachel, and offers to work for her hand in marriage — seven years, no less! Laban agrees, so the toil and time of waiting begins:
So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
Genesis 29:20 (ESV)
Now that's patience! Jacob discovered that love and affection can offset the mundane, the arduous, the difficult.
What, or whom, do we love enough to wait for in this world of instant-everything? The need for this kind of loving patience goes far beyond romantic relationships. If you watch for it, patience shows up in:
• The OK-with-strolling grandfather who doesn't sigh in exasperation and pull at the arm of his toddling grandson who wants to stop on the sidewalk to examine every stick and rock and bug.
• The mom who quietly lingers over each painstakingly pronounced word by her second-grader who is struggling to learn to read.
• The caregiver whose elderly parent's slow, shuffling steps seem to take forever just to get from the couch to the dinner table where the food is getting cold.
• The addiction counselor who sits across the table from a client whose downcast eyes and failure-slumped shoulders signal it's time to start over from scratch, again.
• The single 30-, 40-, or 50-somethings who keep believing there's a heart out there that will fit their own.
• The would-be artists, writers, musicians or craftsmen who practice their slowly budding skills day after day after day — unrelenting in their resolve to do what they love with the life they've been given.
• The too-tired moms and discouraged dads who get up every day, year after year, and go to a job they don't love in order to take care of the people they do.
Love, in its many forms and functions, requires a lot of waiting. This is true even in our spiritual lives and love for God. If we're honest, people of faith often wait, praying prayers that still seem to go unanswered for years. We wait to see how God will guide us through times of loss and sickness — how He will help us mend broken relationships and broken hearts. Still, “not yet done” isn't the same as “will never happen.”
And we should remember, on the other side of this
divine-human equation, another one waits. Second Peter 3:15 says we're to:
... Count the patience of our Lord as salvation.
God waits for us to stop thrashing and turn to him in quiet trust.
He waits for us to humble ourselves and own up to our sins and failures.
He waits for us to ask for help (from him and from others) and to receive the love expressed when Jesus became one of us.
He waits for us to take
the gifts and abilities he's placed in us and to run with them.
I want to be a better “wait-er” as I love my way through this life. Who knows ... with God as my strength and example, someday there just might be an award in that “patience-trophy case” with my name on it. I hope it sits right next to Don's ... won't he be surprised!
Jodi Detrick is a minister
with the Northwest Ministry Network (Assemblies of God).
She is also a public speaker, an author and a life coach.
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