Sunday, January 19, 2014

Patience (noun): a very useful quality possessed by fishermen, teachers, brooding hens, dogs stalking rabbits, and the poor souls who have run out of butter and must attempt to make their own butter by shaking cream in a jar.  (The Iowan Redhead's Unabridged Farm Girl Dictionary)

Dog and Rabbit Patience
If you've ever had a farm dog, you've probably seen him/her chase a rabbit.  Rabbits are sprinters (faster than dogs when running in spurts), but dogs are marathon runners (they have more endurance).  Consequently, the rabbit's goal is to make a dash for a wood pile, overturned panel, or the like, which the dog will be too big to fit under.  

The dog then sits beside the wood pile, sometimes barking or trying to dig under it to catch the rabbit.  If the rabbit gets impatient, thirsty, or hungry and leaves before the dog does, it is captured in its attempt to escape and becomes the dog's dinner; if the dog is impatient and leaves before the rabbit makes its attempt, the rabbit lives.  

The dog and rabbit principle is very useful since it works in a lot of games, including chess and ping-pong.  If you persevere and keep on making good moves and hitting the ball back to your opponent, sooner or later he will make a mistake (if you don't first!).  The player with more endurance wins.

Sometimes life may be hard; trials may be hard to endure, but never step out of God's love and protection, because the Devil is there to grab you and make you his slave--his dinner.  Jesus is a merciful Father who cares for you and if you abide in His love He will see you through to glory.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God."  --Hebrews 12:1=2

Teachers' Patience
I really admire my teachers (my parents who homeschooled me) for their extreme patience.  My papa oftens tells the story of when he first started teaching me the alphabet.
"Bethany," he said, "this letter is A, say A."

 "A," I repeated.

"This letter is B, say B."


This one is C...this is D...this is E."

He thought everything was going well, but he thought he should check to make sure I remembered what he taught me, so he pointed to A and asked "Bethany, do you remember what this letter is?"

"No," I said.

"It's A, say A," Papa replied.  "Do you remember what this letter is (B)?"


And so it went until I finally could remember the letters after the fourth or fifth try.  It worked the same way with the multiplication tables and everything else I had to learn; it had to be inculcated.  I am very blessed to have parents who have lots of love and patience and didn't give up on me!

Be kind to those who are learning, be patient, and encourage them.  Patience is a fruit of the spirit.

"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."  --1 Thessalonians 5:14

Fishermen and Brooding Hen's Patience
It's been a while since I've gone fishing, but I know sooner or later you usually get a bite--the chances are best if you start early!  It's a lot like the person who shakes the cream in the jar, waiting for it to turn into butter.
Our brooding hen Lark sat on her eggs for 3 weeks waiting for them to hatch.  It must seem like an eternity for the poor hen who went for days in a corner of the welding shop without much food or water (we tried to bring her some), but God had a time appointed for her eggs to hatch.  

God also has a time appointed for His return to earth when He will reward the good and punish the evil.  Be patient; Jesus will make everything right when He sits on the Judgment Seat as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

James 5:7-8 says, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.  Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."  


  1. Hi Bethany ~ While Chess and Ping-Pong do require patience one does not have to wait for your opponent to make a mistake - you can unbalance the position in chess and try to vary the pace and location of Ping-Pong shots to catch the opponent off balance to force the mistakes.

    Also in chess and ping pong the loser will rarely meet the fate of the rabbit (or receive the reward of the dog)

  2. Good observations Hank!

    When a dog figures out how to place alfalfa outside of the rabbit's hideout to help him make the fatal mistake, then he may be ready for chess.

    I'm sure glad losers don't meet the rabbit's fate--considering how many losses I have had! But chocolate trophies don't sound all that bad...

  3. When the kids at St. Francis get upset over losing a game I ask if we are playing by 'Loser Gets Dropped in a Vat of Molten Lava' rules!

  4. Hehe... Clever reminder not to take losing too seriously! Those do sound like scary rules though!!

  5. Ahh patience is such a virtue. :) Have you ever seen Finding Nemo? Hebrews 12 reminded of me a scene from that movie when Dora the fish chants, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!"

    Your photo makes me want to go fishing again :)

  6. Nope, I've never seen Finding Nemo before, but sounds like the right message!