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I hate my laptop computer. It's a 500 MHz Compaq with a 6 GB Hard Drive and 64 MB of RAM. For those of you who know what all that means, you know it runs about as fast as a festering piece of doo-doo. Recently, it (the laptop, not the doo-doo) had a rather bad experience with a glass of orange juice, and died an untimely death. You can probably guess how I felt. Mini-celebration and new laptop shopping spree for me! I had my eye on a new Apple iBook and felt that owning one would be more than enough to satisfy all of my laptop obsessive needs.

Much to my chagrin, my parents put a damper on my plans and spurred me to take my Compaq in to Best Buy in an attempt to resurrect it. While it was gone, I tried every conceivable way possible to talk my parents into getting me the iBook. I asked, then begged, then pleaded, then tried bribery, and then blackmail, and finally non-serious threats (stuff like "If I don't get that iBook, I'm going to lock myself in my room and live on a sparse diet of chocolate pudding for 582 days"). It didn't work. My parents just wouldn't budge, and it became obvious that if I wanted the iBook I'd have to get it myself. Something else that worked to my disadvantage was that I was unable to get a job this summer. I was already taking some local college courses and I spent a decent chunk of my checking account on those already. What's a spoiled brat like me to do? Even worse, I was steadily growing impatient at the amount of time that Best Buy took to repair my old laptop. After five days (the service rep. I talked to said it would take three max) without a phone call or an estimate, I called the service center myself, but the technicians still hadn't looked at it. I called at least twice a week to check on its status from then on, and now, a month later, I still don't have it back, although I did get a call about an estimate a couple of days ago.

In the end, I still don't have the iBook, but now I'm kind of glad. After entering all kinds of various sweepstakes in a desperate attempt to win the blasted thing, I realized that God might be trying to teach me something. While reading through the Fruits of the Spirit one night in Galatians 5:22-23, I came across a key word that seemed like a slap in the face: patience. Wow. Patience. It strikes me dumb. I'm easily an impatient person, and I'd always heard that patience was a virtue (one I didn't have), but it's one of the Fruits of the Spirit too? You mean *I'm* supposed to reap patience?

You bet. In fact, patience is commanded of all Christians. If you don't believe me, check out James 5:7-8 real quick. "Be patient then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." James never stutters when saying, "be patient," and he repeats it twice. "Oh, but there's a snag in your logic," you're saying. "We're only commanded to be patient about the Lord's coming. It's okay to be impatient about other things." Not so. Flip over to Hebrews 12:1, which reads, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us."

In the KJV version of the Bible, that word perserverance is replaced by the word patience. Although patience and perserverance work hand in hand, patience is clearly the key factor here. When we become impatient, we allow things to hinder our walk with God. It also becomes very easy to sin in our impatience. We may lash out and become angry, or ignore other more important things in our lives. For these reasons, the author of Hebrews encourages us to "throw off everything" so that we can wait on God to speak, to work, or even to show himself in our lives. Personally, this was no less than the truth in my situation, as my obsession over the much-coveted iBook threw off my spiritual life and caused me to lose focus on where I stood with Christ. I forgot that I had a loving Savior who died for me and promises I will spend an eternity with Him. I forgot about the faith that I had for so long in a Lord who has his eye on the sparrow, and will so much more provide me with everything I need. I forgot about all the other blessings God has given me, such as my friends and family, a place to live, food in my stomach, and all of the little conveniences that I could do without, yet He blessed me with anyway.

I still haven't totally gotten over my longing for the iBook, but now I can handle doing without it for quite some time (seeing as that's how long it will take for me to save enough cash to get one). Like the saying goes, "Patience is a virtue." It isn't something that's automatically "built-in" to every Christian. It takes experience and time to learn. You could even say that patience takes patience.

I pray that you too will learn to be patient in your day-to-day life. Most importantly, wait on the Lord, and serve Him with gladness. What you reap will be more than worth the time spent.
- Rick Foux
August 14, 2002
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