What a trip to the local hardware store taught me about the patience and kindness that God shows me each day.
Grant Bell, serving with his wife Brittany in Germany, writes of an otherwise mundane moment that taught him about the patience that God has for us.
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness
I was at the hardware store a few weeks ago on a trip to shop for flooring for our future apartment. The looking portion of our visit was well underway when Brittany and I began to discuss purchasing options. I immediately felt some tension and anxiety swell within me. I quickly realized that I knew little to nothing about properly purchasing the correct type and amount of flooring for our apartment; and the cherry on top?? All of this was going to have to happen in German.
After a short discussion with Brittany and several attempts to swallow my pride, the only option was to ask for help. In this moment I had my first revelation: I, as an American, am terrible at humbling myself and asking for help! But in this moment of choosing humility over pride, God showed up. Maybe my pride is a big part of the reason I don't see God show up more: I just don't make the space. Back to the story. After some poor basic German with one worker, he graciously found a coworker that was willing to help us. As our patience was fleeting and our anxiety on the rise, God met us right in the middle of a hardware store in Berlin. It became obvious quite quickly that this was for one reason: I had finally set my pride aside and had space for God to meet me in my weakness.
"Patience is not waiting, it is how you act while you wait"
Fortunately, as followers of Jesus, we serve a God who knows and hears us and if we are willing to endure the awkward and humbling moments of helplessness, He meets us right in the middle of the chaos. Not only did this worker at the hardware store choose to help us in his broken English and our non-existent German, but he chose to do so with patience and kindness knowing he had nothing to gain through this interaction with two helpless Americans. What a beautiful picture of how Jesus pursues each of hearts...with patience and kindness. Unlike you and I who must daily choose these fruits of the spirit, this is part of His character. It is who He is!
What does all this mean for you and me? Or more directly said, am I walking into each of my daily interactions with friends and strangers alike and offering each person patience and kindness as an Ambassador for Christ? I know this is something I will be wrestling with over the next few months and I would invite you to press into this alongside me. What could our interactions and relationships look like if we looked a little more like Christ in this way?
It is my hope that this short story of one stranger’s choice of patience and kindness is an encouragement and reminder to all of us that we get to carry these fruits of the spirit everywhere we go. And most importantly, we can choose patience and kindness no matter what the circumstance!
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."