“Patience is a virtue”, one of my co-workers stated in passing after a trying day at work. Frazzled from spending my morning trying to catch up on paperwork, with no avail, I led a group of non-verbal clients in planned activities. It wasn’t going very well. We seemed to be having an off-day, as I was having a difficult time engaging my first afternoon group. One client was bent on doing his own activity, and when asked to rejoin the group, the response was stomping of the feet, jumping up and down, and shaking his head violently. He refused all of my requests.
Although the frustration was building, I remained calm on the outside, reminding myself that I was leading more groups later on that day.
Patience is a must when working with people who cannot communicate their wants and needs in a traditional manner. As a social worker, all of my clients have poor social skills, little impulse control, and feeble emotion regulation. There are days when I am constantly putting out fires and de-escalating crisis situations, and it feels as though there will never be an end to the emergency. In those times, I am called to be more patient.
The problem is, as a sinful human, becoming frustrated is easy. Practicing patience, having a long wick, and keeping cool becomes difficult.
God, however, does not have this problem. He is patient, forgiving, and merciful, despite our sinful behaviors toward our Creator. The Israelites, for example, were still God’s chosen people whom He deeply blessed, although because of their sin, they were given into their enemies.
We can see God’s patience and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the perfect example.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life."
(I Timothy 1:15-16, NIV)
There are some days that I just want to scream, cry, or punch something. However, I find strength and encouragement in our Savior. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV) becomes an anthem to get me through the day. As I work with a special needs population, God continues to show me where I fall short of perfection and that I must cling to Him for forgiveness and grace.
Do you get frustrated easily? What must you repent of today? I pray that you also will go to our Father for grace in the stresses of life.
See you in the round!
*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.