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Patience - enabling us to walk through difficulties, the staying power of love.
It was one of the most severe interrogations I have ever endured; the constant drip of words fell upon my forehead threatening to gradually drive me insane. The questioning, a monotone repetitious drone of verbiage, was devised to deprive me of reason, and the subsequent bending of my will. It came from my son Daniel and went something like this:
Daddy, can I have a cookie, can I have two cookies, how about a candy, how about a drink, are we having lunch soon, how about a snack, can I have juice, or a banana, how about some chocolate milk, when can my friends come over, can I watch cartoons, how about playing nteno (Ninteno), can I have some cheese, what about a drink of milk, can I not take a nap today, when can I play outside, how about something to drink now, are the other guys (his brothers and sister) getting to play nteno, can I have m&ms, can Mikey play with me, are we having dsert (dessert) after dinner, can I have a cookie, can I have two cookies…….?
A sixteenth century lawyer by the name of Hippolytus de Marsiliis, is recognized with the development of a subtle form of water torture commonly known as “Chinese water torture”(not his title, I think his was “aquaous dripedus rabidus”). What made water torture so effective was that the victims were strapped tightly down so that they couldn’t move a muscle. Then cold water was dripped ever so slowly on to a small spot on the forehead. The strapped captives could see each drop coming down, and were gradually driven bonkers.
Now, Hippolytus may be credited with this wacky water slide to madness; but the above sample shows that my five-year-old son Daniel has the patent on the verbal form of this ancient form of anguish. Daniel’s variety is most effective when you are “strapped” to a particular task like making an important phone call, out of the corner of your eye you can see each word coming as you are trying to remain adult like with the business of the phone call but slowly unravel under the constant drip. This usually results in covering one end of the phone and yelling something intelligent like, “can’t you see I’m on the phone?” which of course he can, but doesn’t really care about, otherwise it wouldn’t be torture.
Hipplytus (who I’m guessing was a real popular guy in the torment trade but not real fun at parties) is also credited with coming up with sleep deprivation as a type of torture. The theory is to deprive someone of sleep over a period of time (days) and brain cells function like cottage cheese on a hot summer day. My speculation is that old Hip didn’t have any children or else he already would have known about this method of breaking the will. For centuries children around the globe have been adding volumes to the ongoing research in this field. In my own home the study of sleep deprivation theories has been going on for fourteen years, with fresh insights added on a nightly basis. I have estimated that since our children were born my wife and I have accumulated approximately 3 full nights of sleep in those 14 years, not counting the medicated ones. Ah… parenthood …the Survivor Series without the big financial payday, but one that pays generational dividends.
“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15
Dictionary dudes define patience this way:
Patience is the action of bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness.
In God’s spiritual agriculture, the definition is far more powerful. It is a totally active endurance of conflict, not a passive resignation to the conflict distresses. Simply put, patience doesn’t surrender to circumstances. It engages fathering with a full frontal assault of understanding that the trial of faith works patience and that fruit produces relational life. Fathers can bring forth fruit with the tool of patience.
“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” James 1:3-4
When I am patient with the seasons of life, the staying power of love strengthens my resolve. The buds of patience bloom into ripe fruit, the harvest of which nourishes those I’m entrusted to lead. There are moments we can’t afford to rush through, even the difficult ones. They kick into gear the ripening process and produce a greater yield of fruit in our lives. The fatherly example of patience plants deep into our children hearts a purposeful passion. A willingness to “wait on the Lord” with all they process.
What does a kid size passion fruit look like? In April I celebrated my birthday and the morning of the big day Daniel (yes, that same five year old) waited patiently outside the bathroom door to wish me happy birthday before I left for work. That’s why I need to be a father full of patience fruit; it multiplies in the hearts of my children.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Hebrew 10:36