A Prayer for Patience
A prayer for patience was what Carol Harrison asked for. Her prayer for patience later became a prayer for recovery as her health continued to suffer.
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Life Lessons from a Puzzle – Patience
I look at all the puzzle pieces from a large picture puzzle scattered across the table and wonder how someone will find where they all belong. I have no patience for trying each piece until I find the one that fits. When I watched my father put a puzzle together, I noticed he looked, stared really, at the pieces. He was patient as he tried to discover the correct piece he needed at that moment. It takes patience to put a large puzzle together. There are no shortcuts in puzzles or in life.
Life Can Be a Jumbled Mess – A Mystery
Bill Butler in a June 2014 blog post said, “If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it. There is a mystery to a puzzle. It starts as an incoherent jumbled mess.”
Life can be an incoherent jumbled mess just like all the pieces dumped out of a puzzle box. We often, or at least I do, get impatient. I want life to be ordered, perfect and harmonious and when it isn’t, I want it fixed yesterday. Yet most things happen beyond my control. I cannot fix everything for myself, let alone for others. Only God knows the entire picture.
A Prayer for Patience
A number of years ago I lay in a hospital bed fighting for breath. I had a serious lung infection and asthma like symptoms. In our small community there were three of us hit harder with this infection than any others. We all ended up hospitalized, not just for a couple days but for several weeks.
I clearly remember the day, after I had already been in hospital for days, when the doctor listened to my lungs and shook his head. My skin had a grey tinge that got deeper each day due to a lack of oxygen. My lips looked like I had applied blue lipstick. The doctor said he heard no breath sounds at the bottom of my lungs. He also added that he did not know what else to try to ease my breathing. Any exertion, including the necessary coughing to rid my lungs of unwanted phlegm, added to the distress my body encountered. A lady from church came to visit. She asked what to pray for and my first response was, “Patience.”
A Prayer for Patience Becomes a Prayer for Recovery
I wanted this infection to leave and leave now. I wanted the asthma to be under control immediately. I wanted to breathe freely, be discharged from the hospital and resume my every day, normal duties of life. I was impatient for relief, impatient for healing, impatient for answered prayer. After several days of continually having my lungs become worse she told me she could not bring herself to pray for patience any longer. She felt she needed to simply leave that in God’s hand and pray for my recovery.
I ended up in the hospital for two weeks and then became an outpatient who had to visit the emergency room multiple times a day for nebulizer treatments. The lung infection cleared up but the asthma stayed. All summer my asthma caused breathing difficulties. I do not know or understand why God did not heal me immediately. I know he had a plan. I had to learn to be patient and listen to what my breathing allowed me to do.
Patience, the ability to put our desires on hold for a time, is not an easy task. I wish I could say I had learned how to be patient at all times but the truth is, sometimes my impatience explodes. Even when I think I have learned that lesson of being patient and trusting God totally, something happens that makes me realize my imperfections still rise to the surface for the entire world to see. Sometimes I manage to pretend to wait quietly but inside I want God to show me where the next puzzle piece is supposed to go or answer the big questions of why or what next. I continually need to be reminded of the lesson of patience and ask God to help me continue to learn to be patient with life circumstances, with other people, and with myself.
Trusting in God’s Plan
How is your patience? Are you one of the people who loves to sit and put together a puzzle no matter how long it takes? Does that translate into other areas of your life? Do certain things cause your patience to disappear or be in short supply? May we learn from putting together puzzle pieces that if something in life doesn’t fit we shouldn’t be impatient and try and force it to be the way we think it should be. Instead I know I need to remember to trust that God’s plan is far better than anything I can imagine.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.