Active Patience


The ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop, writes about the race of a tortoise and a hare. You know the story: When challenged to a race with the tortoise, the hare brags about how fast he can run. Swiftly running half the course, the hare leaves the tortoise behind in the dust. With what seemed to be a guaranteed win, he allows himself to become sidetracked by distractions. The result: a triumphant tortoise and sulking hare. Behind the “slow and steady wins the race,” is another great lesson we can all learn.

Imagine the setting with me: The hare: one who moves with great speed and agility—fully capable of winning the race. The tortoise: an unlikely winner—one who doesn’t allow his limitations to keep him from persevering—from believing. The tortoise had to believe that winning could only come through two things: active movement—a stop-at-nothing heart; and patience to wait for the right moment to make his move. Active patience.

The bible has a lot to say about active patience. Take, for instance, the story of Paul. A loyal follower of Jesus and great writer in the bible, Paul talks about the greatest race. Here’s a little background info on Paul, formerly known as Saul: He has a pretty remarkable story of grace (try reading Acts 9 for more details) and a passion for the expansion of the Gospel, so much so that he spends much of his life locked away in a prison cell for it. While in prison Paul patiently waits on the Lord to rescue him but continues pressing on in his work of building the Church.

It’s in that dark, cold, lonely prison cell that Paul writes most of his letters that we read in the New Testament today. He writes:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7

All the odds were against Paul but he made every moment matter, one letter to the church at a time. His active patience was bold, fearless, and his story of triumph—an unmistakably miraculous work of God. Paul knew his active patience played an important role in the movement of the early church and the expansion of the Gospel. He could either allow the circumstances to overwhelm him, or he could pursue the heart of God and God’s people, despite the circumstances.

Whether your approach to life is more of a tortoise or hare doesn’t really matter. There’s one thing for sure—Life is a race. Nobody knows when we’ll reach the finish line. Therefore, every minute counts. Though our lives may all look different—in how we choose to use those minutes—we’re still a part of the race.

At Renovation, active patience is vital. There can’t ever be stagnant time because that will just be lost opportunities.

Maybe you're in a season of life where God is asking you to use active patience. No matter what your situation, He’s got a purpose and plan for it far beyond what you can comprehend. Embrace it and make this time count.

Question: How can you embrace active patience through your current circumstances?

Let's encourage others through our personal experiences. Leave a comment below.

- Emily Ondish

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