Immediately, some of you may have read the title and recalled Encanto and the song about Bruno. I’m trying to find the humor in a sad situation I’m experiencing so indulge me (and be grateful you don’t actually hear me singing).
We don’t talk about PATIENCE, no, no, no!
We don’t talk about PATIENCE… but
It was a normal day
just a regular day
I was drinking coffee and checking on my list for the day
No clouds allowed in my plan
“Delay” walks in with a mischievous grin-
Many have warned against praying for patience because you will probably be tested. The truth is that we only learn patience by having to wait. The reality is we want to avoid this lesson and instead cry out “give me patience and I want it now.”
While I did not pray for patience, I taught about it recently at our weekly Bible Study. One friend and I trade weeks and the topic of patience fell on my week. I try to use current situations or examples to illustrate any lesson and I found three current object lessons for the chapter on patience.
- When my washer quit a year ago, I bought a new washer and dryer and hooked up my still functioning dryer as a spare (a dream combination). When this older dryer failed, I contacted a local repairman. He has replaced 2 parts but needed to order the 3rd part o finish the repair. It has been 5 months since it quit but I assured him it was my spare and he should service customers without that option first. He took me at my word.
- I did well and waited patiently.
- I ordered 2 books. One arrived within 2 days. The one on back-order took a roundabout trip back and forth across the neighboring state once it got shipped. At one point, it was 20 minutes away before traveling to a point 6 hours away and being rerouted back to the same distribution town 20 minutes away and finally delivered with a total time of several days longer than the 1st book.
- I did pretty well with this one too, remarking that even if I didn’t get to travel, at least my book was getting out and about. Before you think I have this patience thing figured out….
- A “challenge” arose that broke my bubble of self-congratulation. My express computer repair (5-7 business days) became weeks of waiting…delays…mistakes…etc.
- Spoiler alert: I still don’t have it back.
During a software update, my laptop warned of a hardware issue. My computer is out of warranty for hardware issues but I have ongoing software support. I checked with a technician and they verified that a repair was likely needed, but I would have to send it in for an out of warranty evaluation. The following timeline documents events and my patience level.
- March 7: ordered repair and chose 5-7 business day express repair instead of 12-14 business days.
- March 8/9: received packing box and shipped laptop after backing up drive and deleting sensitive information including finances….feeling fine. Using an older tablet temporarily but it doesn’t have all the capabilities of a laptop.
- March 10: laptop arrived for repair
- March 17: I hadn’t heard anything, so I called support. Received bid and paid that day to expedite the repair. Getting a little worried since I thought I would have heard from them sooner…but still doing ok.
- March 24: I called to check progress and was asked if I paid yet (???). After they confirmed payment, I was told they were waiting for the part. Frustration has increased as we were now at 14 days after they received it and I had expected 5-7 business days.
- March 28: I called and was told the repair was held up until the 26th (??), yet no reason given. They assured me that it would be completed and mailed back by the end of the week. Hope returning….UNTIL
- March 31: I received an email with the tracking number. They mailed the computer on the 29th and it was currently on a truck for delivery to the wrong address…in another state. They shipped my laptop to a stranger. PANIC. I called the company and asked them to stop the delivery but it was too late. What if that person was dishonest? Worry had taken root.
- I was asked to be patient (yes, they actually said it) for 2 business days while they checked with the delivery company.
- April 1 (Friday): Said my case was escalated and they should know something by Tuesday. Again, they requested my patience. Praying for patience and peace.
- April 5 (Tuesday): Called and told they wouldn’t know anything until Wednesday. By now, the frustration is evident in my voice and I’m not the best witness for my Lord….or very patient.
- April 6: Again told my case was under review – but no news yet. Requested to speak with a manager who called a few hours later to tell me he had just called the recipient of my laptop (finally). She verified receipt and possession of my laptop. The computer company would now facilitate its return. Since it has taken much more time because of their error, the manager agreed to refund the difference between regular and express repair – I’m getting $20 back (insert rolling eyes – not my best moment and glad they can’t actually see it).
- April 8: Spoke with company and they verified my laptop was supposed to be picked up today and would be shipped back to repair location and then rerouted to me. I asked for overnight delivery once they receive it back since it has been almost a month and they refused.
So I should eventually get my laptop back. But, I have had to wait much longer than I expected and my frustration levels increased as time passed. I had days where I rested in God’s peace and trusted Him to see me to the end of this situation. Other days, I succumbed to panic. They couldn’t tell me if the repair resulted in a factory reset or not. I backed up the system expecting a likely reset but had to send my password for them to use. I changed it to a very generic one and added a note with the password to the package. What if they didn’t have to factory reset the computer, and they included the paper with my computer being returned? If the person receiving it was less than honest, they could access my emails or other sites. I frantically changed as many passwords as possible since the 31st and have received no notifications of attempted access (I use extra security measures by default since I’ve been a victim of identity theft in the past).
I fully realize waiting a few weeks for a computer does not compare with waiting months and years for God to resolve some situations. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac (Gen 21) and Joseph waited years to see God bring good out of his situation (Gen 50:20). The woman with the issue of blood (Mt. 5) and the woman bent over (Luke 13) were both healed, but each waited 12 and 18 frustrating years, respectively. More than these, God is perfect patience.
God’s character oozes patience: “The LORD! The LORD!” a God who is compassionate and merciful, very patient, full of great loyalty and faithfulness (Ex. 34:6 CEB). As we become more Christlike, patience should become more of a 1st instinct response instead of panic or anger. Patience is part of the fruit that the Holy Spirit grows in us (Galatians 5:22). Plants sometimes need the messy part of life for abundant growth. As my gardener friends know, this can involve food scraps or manure. Likewise, our situation stinks, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through this circumstance, we bear fruit. We become more loving and joyful, experience inner peace no matter what, become kinder, gentler, and express goodness and kindness. Finally, we learn self-control and…patience (the one we dread). All nine on the list grow best in experiences…and they can indeed stink.
I haven’t fully matured in this patience thing. But, I’m grateful God is patient in teaching and training me every time I face a time of waiting.