A Rare and Remarkable Virtue

Perhaps you’ve uttered the American’s Prayer at some anxious moment recently: Lord, give me patience . . . and I want it right now! This rare and remarkable virtue is within the and-so-forth section in Galatians chapter 5. You know how we quote that passage . . . “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and-so-forth.” That lazy habit has caused a very important series of virtues to become forgotten.

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Tears

When words fail, tears flow. Tears have a language all their own, a tongue that needs no interpreter. In some mysterious way, our complex inner-communication system knows when to admit its verbal limitations . . . and the tears come. Eyes that flashed and sparkled only moments before are flooded from a secret reservoir. We try in vain to restrain the flow, but even strong men falter.

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Feeling Apprehensive

THE SCENE IS FAMILIAR: a hospital lobby with all the expected surroundings . . . soft sofas and folded newspapers . . . matching carpets and drapes illumined by eerie lighting . . . a uniformed lady at the desk, weary from answering the same questions . . . strange smells . . . and lots of people. Everywhere there are people. A steady stream pours in and out, the faces marked by hurry and worry.

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Does Anyone Care?

ON THAT ICY JANUARY MORNING, in a twenty-five-cent-a-night flophouse, a shell of a man who looked twice his age staggered to the washbasin and fell. The basin toppled and shattered. He was found lying in a heap, unclothed and bleeding from a deep gash in his throat. His forehead was badly bruised, and he was semiconscious.

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God’s Control

DAWSON TROTMAN, founder of the Navigators, an organization discipling and mentoring ministry leaders around the world, drowned while saving a swimmer from certain death. Eyewitnesses tell of the tears and helpless disbelief in the faces of those who now looked out across the deep blue water of Schroon Lake. Everyone’s face except one—Lila Trotman.

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God’s Aware of Your Tears

TEARS HAVE A LANGUAGE ALL THEIR OWN, needing no interpreter. In some mysterious way, our inner-communication system knows its verbal limitations, and the tears come. Eyes that flashed and sparkled moments before are flooded. Tears are not self-conscious. They can spring upon us when we are in public or standing beside others who look to us for strength.

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Are You Listening?

HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU HEARD someone say, “Are you listening to me?” Let’s be honest: in a culture awash in cell phones, social media, and other addictive technologies, we’re losing the fine art of listening. I don’t mean just hearing. Not simply smiling and nodding while somebody’s mouth is moving. Not merely staying quiet until it’s “your turn” to chime in. All of us are good at that game.

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Two Questions

WHEN COMPARING THE ACTS OF forgiving and forgetting, I believe forgetting is the tougher assignment. Why? Because forgetting is something that is shared with no other person. It’s a solo flight. All the rewards are postponed until eternity . . . but how great they will be on that day!

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Hope for the Weary

MANY YEARS AGO, my brother, Orville, introduced a hymn to me I’d not heard before. Its moving strains often accompany me as I drive or walk in solitude or return late from a day of demands. Art thou weary, heavy laden, Art thou sore distressed? “Come to me,” saith One, “And coming, Be at rest.”

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Surrendering Your Will

THE PSALMIST WAS CORRECT: the heavens do indeed proclaim the glory of God. The skies do indeed display his craftsmanship (see Psalm 19:1). And when you mix that unfathomable fact with the incredible reality that He cares for each one of us right down to the last, tiniest detail, the psalmist is, again, correct: “such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand” (Psalm 139:6).

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