Why Am I Not Back at the Gym Yet?
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. James 5:7
Patience is not one of my gifts. It’s postoperative (knee replacement) day number four and I’m still swollen and slow. I did go to physical therapy yesterday, which I saw as the beginning of my return to exercise. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that one of my biggest goals is to get back to the gym as soon as possible. Still, for now, I’m struggling with simply bending my knee. There’s just so much swelling.
How long will the swelling last? My wife googled it for me yesterday. Three months to a year. That’s impossible. What does the internet know? I’ll ask my physical therapist. He confirmed that my swelling would not be gone in the two weeks that I’d hoped. I know that he’s right and that this will take a while, but still, I’m not patient. I’ve sat around for a few days icing. I’m ready to be done. I want my normal life back now.
Then, I read today’s passage, where James told me to be patient. It got me asking why. Why is patience considered a virtue? If God can answer all my prayers right now, why does he not? Why would he make me wait? Why would he say ever say no?
As is often the case, I looked to the parent/child relationship which provided some understanding of my interaction with God and the importance of patience. It’s in a child’s nature to ask his (or her) parents for what he wants. Do parents give their child what he wants? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Sometimes it’s not in the child’s best interest to get what he desires. Does the child understand this? Absolutely not. He thinks it’s terribly unfair. If you really loved me, you’d say yes! As parents ourselves, we know however, that the fastest way to destroy a child is to spoil him by giving him whatever he asks for.
I am that child. I always want my way now. If I got immediately everything I asked for though, I’d never learn faith. I’d never learn to be content with my relationship with God. I’d see him only as a genie who granted my wishes. I’d be spoiled rotten, and I’d never really learn that my joy, purpose, and meaning don’t come from my stuff and circumstances, but rather from my relationship with the father. I may not like it, but if I truly want a life of faith, joy, and peace, I must learn to practice patience.