The writer of Hebrews talks about faith in a passage that is well-known to many - the "Hall of Faith" in chapter 11. After listing many 'greats' of the Jewish faith, he ends with this statement: These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
As I've been pondering the many faces of patience, I've been reflecting on the role of patience in community. A patience that will not move on until others are ready and able. Frederick Buechner in his book "The Sacred Journey" tells the story of receiving his first book contract. Full of this good news, he was heading down the stairs, when he ran into an old acquaintance whom he knew was out of work and down on his luck. He was profoundly moved, and questioned himself if he had a right to be happy when this man was so obviously unhappy.
I've pondered that moment for a while. I'm a firm believer in pursuing joy for myself; I believe that with all that is in my power, I should seek to make a meaningful life, to fulfill my vocation and to enjoy the many good gifts that surround me. But the seeking of joy for myself will not bring about the life that is truly good. The truly good life participates in the life of God, and His life encompasses all of creation. This will require patience on my part, and perseverance. Patience in not rushing ahead, and perseverance in doing my best to make sure others can join me in this life.