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“I’ve Found Your Patience!”
by Rubel Shelley

    Joe Torre told the following story in the Yankee dugout during his team’s incredible 1998 season that ended with a World Series triumph. His 2-year-old daughter, Andrea Rae, was not having her best day. So her mother, Ali Torre, told her, “Andrea, I’ve lost my patience with you.” Things didn’t get any better, so she repeated herself for emphasis. “Andrea, I’ve lost my patience with you!”

    About five minutes later, according to Joe, Andrea proudly walked over to her mother and announced, “Mommy, I’ve found your patience.”

    When I read that story in The New York Times, it caused me to think about my own search for patience. Maybe it’s like yours in some way. Time was that I thought it would be wonderful to have more free time — perhaps time to be quiet in the mountains or to ponder sunset after sunset on a tranquil beach. The accumulation of those quiet, unstressed moments could teach me the tranquil virtue of patience.

    But that’s a monumental mistake! Patience doesn’t come from stress-free days and quiet nights. It comes from facing down trouble, heartache, and frustration in the midst of a stressful, noisy environment. Patience is standing your ground over time — when that ground is quaking under your feet. It is your willingness to take the long-term view of life and to wait for God to bring a holy result from an unpromising start.

    It was the late William Saroyan who said, “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.” He must have been thinking of patience when he said that.

“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.”
    Patience is what allows a mother to wait for her troubled child to mature, rather than giving up on him because of his latest embarrassing washout. It is the virtue that enables someone to hold on in a less-than-happy marriage until time, counsel, and growth heal a flawed relationship. It is the moral trait that gets a company’s executives and newest employees through a challenging time in a tough market.

    Today’s disappointment need not be taken as the final word either on you or on your project. If you learn something and apply it in a positive way, a desirable outcome is still possible in a tomorrow that cannot yet be grasped. When you believe in something or someone, investing a bit more of that faith over time cannot be dismissed as a pointless strategy. “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly” (Proverbs 14:29). “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).

    Andrea was right! Her mommy’s patience had been “found” in the midst of the crisis that was testing it. And in case yours is missing, it’s in the very same place.


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
© 1999, Rubel Shelley, FAX of Life. Used by permission.