“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
One of the most difficult lessons I have to learn as I get older is that it is to be patient! I have been reflecting on why people who are ill or recovering from illness are called ‘patients’. Why not ‘recoverers’, healers, or……. – it seems a strange name in many ways to describe people who are trying get back to ‘normal’ whatever that may be for them.
On a bit more reflection I have seen how in fact this process of being patient is something which I need to practice myself more often. It becomes clearer in such situations as I find myself in now – caring for someone who themself is trying to exercise being patient but also need a double dose of this as she also needs to exercise large doses of patience as she watches me do many things in a very different way from her own way. Or indeed even greater patience as she tries to explain to her rather different-minded husband how to do many household tasks which normally he never really thinks about but which she does automatically.
And then I think – mmm – what patience God Almighty creator of the heavens and earth and all manner of intricate things must need to have with me as He sees me struggle to do things my way – to think things through in my own (faulty) reasoning. Knowing all the time as He walks beside me that He know exactly the right path and even when He tells me I don’t hear because I am too focussed on my own ways. Then even when I manage to hear what is He is saying I still need to act on this thought that He gives me. As the quote from Goethe says ‘Thinking is easy acting is harder but putting them both together is perhaps the most difficult thing in the world.’
As Paul says in his letter to the believers in Rome (Chapter 5)
‘There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!’
I am confident that His patience never runs out (unlike my own and the patient I am caring for 🙂 ) and that He will continue to patiently change me as we walk toward eternity together.