The patient cat

Published 3:23 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

This morning as I took my walk, I spotted a young cat sitting on a tree stump.  Then I noticed that the cat went into a stalking position as it carefully went after its prey.  A bird flew over the cat’s head and safely escaped the predator’s grasp.  I continued my walk and came back around to that same spot.  There I found the cat still in the area pursuing another bird—with unchanged result; once again, the bird outwitted the inexperienced cat.  But what I also noticed was that the cat did not give up, but continued her hunt.  I am confident that if she patiently maintains her efforts, as unfortunate as it is for the bird, she will eventually find success.

When I sat down at the table earlier this evening, I had the joy of consuming freshly picked cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn from our backyard garden.  Those things did not develop overnight; there was a lot of tending and waiting.  I did not keep count of how many times Gale and I looked at those tomato vines anticipating the welcome sight of red ripe tomatoes.  As we patiently (and a bit impatiently!) waited, we finally got to enjoy the fruit of our labor.

You do not have to look far to experience the evidence of impatience in our society; I have to admit that I have my moments when things just do not happen according to the timeframe that I expect.  Impatience leads to frustration, and when impatient people choose to push their agenda ahead of God’s plan the results can be disastrous.  We need to constantly remind ourselves to keep practicing the instructive words of James 5:7-8: “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near”  (New International Version).

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One night one of our grandchildren asked me some questions about worry.  She was almost eleven years old at the time, and apparently had already encountered the uncomfortable experience of worry.  I tried to help her to understand that worry is usually about things that we cannot control and we should dismiss worrisome thoughts from our minds. 

Impatience, like worry, most always has to do with circumstances beyond our control.  As a result, it is of no real value to let impatience consume us.  Living a patient life allows us to enjoy great contentment even in the midst of an environment that we do not have the power within ourselves to change.

Romans 12:12 tells us to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Surely during seasons of affliction patience is put to the test, yet as we take advantage of two other components mentioned in this verse we have the resources to enable us to experience patience even in life’s most difficult times.  Hope and prayer are key components to enable us to be patient during affliction.  In commenting on Romans 12:12 Chuck Swindoll writes:  “How do we remain patient through tribulation?  We continue to hope, anticipating that which has not yet happened and celebrating as though it has.  We continue to fulfill our obligations and enjoy our blessings even when we’re discouraged and want to quit.  And all the while, we devote ourselves to prayer.”

Just be patient!  Perhaps that sounds too simple, but when we add in hope and prayer we have a powerful force made available by God that will enable us to confidently face the uncertainties of life.