Daily Devotional

The Value of Patience
Proverbs 15:1 - “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NASB)

 I once read, “He who smiles rather than rages is always stronger.” This became dramatically clear when, as a newlywed college student, I was working in the photo department of a popular drugstore.

An older lady was well-known among my fellow workers as a grump. In our minds, she was the mother of all grumps! Regularly she would come to the photo counter and loudly complain about the quality of her pictures we had developed. She blamed the camera. She blamed the processing. She screamed at us. She was horrible! Honestly, she was really horrible.  It was tempting to usher her out the door.

 At the time I was a new Christian, still working things out regarding my typical impatience  with these kinds of people. One memorable day, I decided to do things differently. I left her for a moment and prayed God would miraculously change this obviously bitter woman. Instead, as I would soon discover, He decided to change me.

 I came back to the counter and looked her in the eyes, “I am so very sorry you are having trouble. Here is your money back. Now, let me see if I can help you take better pictures.” I patiently walked her through the steps. In those moments of special attention, she melted.
She even smiled, something none of us had ever seen. My Spirit-produced patience and my soft answer had turned away her wrath—and mine!

After that day, she came to see me weekly, insisting only I wait on her. (My fellow workers were still happy to hand her off to me.) Her pictures were still horrible, but her countenance brightened my day.

I will always be grateful for how God used this grumpy lady to provide me with one of many lessons on gracious mercy and gentle tolerance and steadfastness of soul. Even though I was working at a drugstore, I can assure you, those minutes of conquering patience didn’t come in a pill. They came as a gift from the indwelling Holy Spirit to my receptive heart.

I wish I could tell you I only needed this one lesson. Over the years and decades, more life-lessons on patience have been far too necessary. The fruit of the Spirit-filled life is…and always will be…contagious patience that produces the kind of gentleness that “turns away wrath” — at home, at church, and in the community.  It also has the power to turn a pesty grump into a precious friend.

Proverbs 25:11 - “Like apples  of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.”
That's the immeasurable value of pursuing patience as a daily treasure.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
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