Patience with Ourselves, with Others, and Even with God

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One day last week, I wrote about water safety. I am grateful for these responses from Cindy, Jennifer, and Katie and decided to pass them on to you, as further encouragement. When I wrote to Katie to ask her if I could share her response with you, she said:

May the Lord use your post to save many from drowning and from eternal separation from Him!

I appreciated those words very much. It is my prayer that God will use the post last week and this one today to save many from drowning. It is my prayer that everything I write will be something God uses to save many from eternal separation from Him.

Katie’s response was compelling. As a former lifeguard and current swimming instructor, she understands the importance of water safety even more than many others. She wrote:

I was a lifeguard and still give swim lessons. This is so true. Drownings can happen so horribly fast . . . . Water is truly a gift, but oh, such heartache, when a life is lost because of it—but for GOD!!!

My first response was from Cindy, a 27-year veteran homeschooling mama whose youngest child is to enter high school this fall. She said:

I loved your blog post today. So true. We feel the same way, also about wearing helmets when riding bikes and scooters. It only takes one fall to have a head injury. It’s not worth it. As parents, we’ve always been on the side of caution.

I loved the response from Jennifer, especially in light of the fact that men are much more likely to die from drowning than women. I feel confident that one of the reasons for this is that many men have deep needs to prove their worth by showing the world that they are invincible. If only they would embrace the reality that they are not invincible, but blessedly only human, which is part of God’s loving design for them!

It takes a loving husband and a mature man to do what Jennifer’s husband does. She wrote:

What a great reminder. I always wear a life jacket because I can’t swim. My husband wears his just to make me feel safer.

Ray and I continue to listen to Dr. Kelly M. Kapic’s book, You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News. Because we haven’t finished it, I can’t yet recommend it unequivocally. We have noticed a few things that we are uncomfortable with theologically, but still we have been deeply moved and blessed by this book so far. Dr. Kapic believes that many Christians make themselves and other people feel guilty, not because those people are sinning but because they are simply human beings with God-given limitations.

The world says, “Hurry up. Achieve. Make money fast. Get it done!” God, on the other hand, grows things, sometimes very slowly. A Wall Street banker or a corporate executive might say to God, “Why did You make some apple trees grow for five to ten years before they bear fruit? Don’t you know we can’t wait five to ten years before we start making money from those apples?”

Aren’t we thankful that God made humans to start out as babies and that we get to watch those babies slowly grow into grown-up humans? Think of the joys we would miss if we didn’t get to enjoy all those precious years.

We humans have limits. One of those limits is that we can’t breathe underwater. God isn’t surprised at our limits. He obviously wanted us to have limits or He wouldn’t have made us that way.

God could have sent Jesus into the world as the grown-up Son of Man and Son of God, but He didn’t. He sent Him as a baby Who slowly grew into a twelve-year-old Who lived in subjection to His parents, . . .

And He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and He continued in subjection to them;
and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature,
and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:51-52

. . . Who slowly became a grown-up, and then began a ministry, and eventually died for us and rose again.

Sometimes we simply have to wait. This illustration by Winslow Homer in the November 1, 1873, edition of Harper’s Weekly is entitled “Dad’s Coming!” Many mamas and children throughout the centuries have waited for Daddy to come back from the sea. Some daddies were sailing for pleasure; many were sailing to obtain livelihoods for their families.

Winslow Homer, “Dad’s Coming!” by Winslow Homer.
Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum,
The Ray Austrian Collection,
gift of Beatrice L. Austrian, Caryl A. Austrian and James A. Austrian

God doesn’t say, “Hurry up! Hurry up!” He waits patiently.

The Lord is not slow about His promise,
as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you,
not wishing for any to perish
but for all to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

God wants us to be patient, too. We need to love ourselves in spite of our limits and love others in spite of theirs. Learning patience is particularly important for homeschooling mamas.

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,
be patient with everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:14

God even expects us to be patient with Him. We see this in the Old Testament when God promised Abraham to make him a great nation (Genesis 12:1 and following) and then waited many years to fulfill that promise. We Americans may not like waiting, but God uses waiting for good. Oh, how we need to be patient like He is when we must wait for Him and for others.

For when God made the promise to Abraham,
since He could swear by no one greater,
He swore by Himself, saying,
“I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” 
And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.
Hebrews 6:13-15

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:7




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