26 February 2009

"I don't want any more character..."

I found myself saying this to God this week.

But let me go back a couple weeks. I'm in a Bible study with some other ladies in the area whose husbands are doing a similar degree as Mark. We meet every fortnight (why don't we use this word in America? It's a good word meaning "two weeks") to discuss a chapter from our study book. We've been studying the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5. I've really enjoyed it thus far.

I was, however, dreading the two weeks we'd be thinking about, praying about and focusing on patience. Ah, yes, that dreaded word. Those of you who have ever studied patience or prayed for it know that God usually brings trials into your life so you can more fully grasp the concept of patience, thus growing in that area of your life. So you can see why I was a bit hesitant to go into the study.

Whenever your car breaks down a week into a study on patience let it be known you should be afraid. Last Wednesday when we met I told the ladies that at that point I was doing okay with no car and dealing with the minor hassles we had encountered up until that point. I thought God was encouraging me to see that I have learned some patience in handling circumstances while living here. As soon as it broke down I prepared myself for it being in the shop for a good week at least. I had experience enough to know it would just take longer than I'd like or thought it should.

So all was smooth sailing until this Monday of this week, then it all began to unravel. I won't go into the gruesome details of dealing with car mechanics/part suppliers, having our hands tied, somewhat bribing the first mechanic, having our car fixed for about 3 hours, having our car broken - again, wasting money, finding a new mechanic, oh, and in general, WAITING!

I will say, though, that one phrase from the study that stuck out at me at the time was "convenience doesn't produce character." It's similar to what my dad often said to me in my high school/college years (and probably even occasionally now) when going through a hard time, "It'll build character." You know, "what doesn't break you will make you stronger." Having a car is certainly convenient. Not necessary in Aberdeen, but a blessing to be sure. I had been doing okay without having my convenience (aka car), but on Monday when we realized it was going to be another many days without it, I found myself saying several times to God "I don't want any more character." LOL. Apparently I have much still to learn in the patience department, and definitely still lacking in character. How exciting that with all this character building, I'll look more like Christ when it's over!

"....but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." (Romans 5:3-5)

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