Patience is SO underrated. Our Burger King culture has permeated every facet of our society. “Your way, right away” is the mantra of our day and age. But patience is a fruit and by-product of the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
A patient person thinks long term, not short term. Patience is in it for the long haul. Impatience shows you are in it for the moment. I believe patient persuasion is a lost art. We’re not talking about manipulation, but patient persistence. In the same way water in all its liquid softness can, over time, wear away the toughest stones and rocks so can a patient man break down any and every defense.
In 2004, we were in debt up to our eyeballs. Bad business debts, a second mortgage and car loans had buried us in a mountain of debt. We could barely make our minimum payments and our financial ruin was fast approaching. I called a debt management agency and they told to us to declare bankruptcy! Around that time, the Lord spoke to me. Clear as it could be, I saw a vision of our family living in a mobile home, having cut our living expenses in half. We were happy, we were content and we were out of debt. My heart exploded! I was so excited I could almost taste it! God was giving me a plan to get out of debt and get free from financial bondage. I hurried home and told my wife what I had seen.
She was less than amused.
The thought of selling our beautiful home and moving into a “trailer” was NOT what she had in mind. I explained what I had seen, shared my heart with her and tried to communicate the vision for what we could have in a just a few short years but it didn’t fly. She didn’t see it and wasn’t excited about it. So I backed off, telling her that we wouldn’t even attempt the endeavor until she was on board. I could have exerted my “right” as the “man of the house” but that would only have made a difficult situation worse.
So I did what this scripture said. I settled into a long term approach. I patiently would remind her of what it would be like to get out of debt and cut our living expenses. I extolled the virtues of contentment and living beneath our means. I took my time. I wasn’t pressuring her, but I was always there with the vision God had given me. I did this over weeks and months. In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take long, only a year and a half of gentle persuasion. Finally, when our bills were getting the best of us again, she looked at me and basically said, “I give up! Let’s do it!” I sprang into action. The plan was laid and a couple months later, our house was sold and we were well on our way to being out of debt.
Maybe the breakthrough you need won’t happen suddenly, but only with persistent persuasion.