“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: …patience…” (Galatians 5.22, NLT).
I often end the Encouragement with the Scripture, but I decided to start with it this time, because, as of the time of writing, it is at the fore of my mind in a big way.
Let me tell you a story.
On Wednesday, late in the afternoon, I received an email from one of our national airlines, with whom we had booked a January holiday, indicating that a change to our itinerary had been made, and that I should call the airline about it.
So, after supper, I settled in for what I expected would be a bit of a wait.
Boy, did I underestimate that “bit”!
I was on hold with the airline for four and a half hours.
Did I speak with someone? Nope. I hung up, because, according to the website, their customer service line closed at that time.
So I tried again on Thursday morning. Another four hour wait. Never spoke with a soul.
(Thankfully, I used my cell phone’s speaker mode, so I could accomplish important tasks while I waited, and waited, and waited!)
Yes, I signed up for a call-back, but the matter is a bit time sensitive, and the call-back is scheduled for nextWednesday.
I will keep trying, but even if I have to wait until next Wednesday’s call-back, I will do my best to be kind.
I will need to be kind, because I’m sure the problem is not the agent’s fault. (Given my experience, I suspect there is but one agent taking calls!)
That verse I cited earlier, along with saying that the fruit of the Spirit is patience, also says the fruit of the Spirit is “kindness”.
Not coincidentally, I think, they are cheek-by-jowl. We need to be patient and kind, because, well, these are characteristics of followers of Jesus who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Patience and kindness do well to be together, because even when we manage to muster up enough patience in a situation like this, it sometimes takes all the energy we have and leaves little room for kindness. But they are both important as part of our witness to the good news of Jesus.
Is this experience testing my patience and kindness? Oh yeah. But the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my life is greater than any issue with a vacation. It has to be.
And I need to be attentive to that power…even when I’m on hold for a cumulative eight-and-a-half hours…so far.
Where could you exercise more patience and kindness, two of the fruit of the Holy Spirit?