Barton Sparagon, MD, says impatience is killing us. E-mail, cell phones, and laptops are to blame. We bring work home. We bring work on vacations. Technology has increased the pressure to do more in the same number of hours. And our impatience has led to some serious health problems.
Heart attacks, palpitations, depression, anxiety, immune disorders, digestive ills, insomnia and migraines used to be the domain of the 40-50 year old age group. Now these symptoms are showing up in the 20-30 year-olds. Even worse, symptoms like hypertension, migraines, and digestive problems that were never before seen in children are showing up in kids as young as 10 years old. Bottom line? Impatience may turn you into a patient.
The doctor has a remedy. He says the chronically impatient person can stand in the longest line in the grocery store to slow down. He believes people can learn to eat, walk, drive and even talk more slowly. (Texans have a natural head start on this one.) But his best suggestion is to examine your belief systems.
That’s not a bad idea. Because when you examine what you believe you will discover this verse Peter wrote: “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Peter had experienced the Lord’s patience. He flunked the water walking test when he sunk. He was prone to deny. He was slow to understand Jesus’ teachings.
But Jesus was also slow. That’s what the Greek word for “patience” means. It’s a compound word that means “a slow boil, slow to anger.” A patient person has a fire but he keeps it turned down low.
That’s what Jesus did with Peter. And that’s what God has done with us. He is “patient toward” us. And because he is patient toward us, he expects us to be patient with each other. “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Because we are human we have faults. And when we encounter those faults in another person our fire can come to a quick boil. Patience will dial back the knob on the burner to a low position. We’ll slow down our response. We’ll react first with love instead of judgment, compassion instead of anger.
Love first and foremost is patient. “Love is patient…” And if God’s patience allows time for his compassion to surface, will ours not allow compassion for each other to rise? The simple equation is: No patience, no compassion. Know patience, know compassion.
Patience is the road God’s grace travels to us. May you take someone for a journey on it today.