Christians are really big on faith, hope, and joy.
We form these words into felt banners hung from the choir loft and sing choruses with our hands raised…
…but nobody likes to think about patience in affliction.
Ask anyone about patience, and they’ll wave at you frantically and shush you to keep your voice down.
God will hear you, you idiot!
You see, we don’t like to pray for patience, because it opens the door for the testing of our patience. And despite all the suffering and affliction Christ endured to save our sorry asses, we prefer to remain affliction free.
Consequently, we don’t really know what to do with afflicted people.
We want them to have faith! hope! and joy! despite their affliction, but mostly we’d feel more comfortable if they just got over it quickly.
But the reality is, many are afflicted with depression, grief, and physical pain that won’t just go away. And for these, all hope is lost, joy is fleeting, and faith is brittle.
Their affliction is not our burden to bear, but neither is it our place to recoil from their discomfort.
I believe it’s our place to also be patient in their affliction.
This means we sit with them, we listen to them, and we cry with them. And we don’t try to hustle them through a time lapse of their affliction, because then we’d all miss an opportunity to be patient.
See what I mean?
I should’ve kept my voice down.