A recent advert would have us believe that 'impatience is a virtue' but, as Clare Rabjohns explains, Mary's example shows that nothing could be further from the truth
The latest advert for Samsung gives you its
message directly because, it tells us, waiting drives us up the wall' and
'waiting doesn't get to the front, waiting never finishes first' The advert
goes on to say that impatience is 'in first, on top and at the front' and the slogan
for the phone that Samsung is promoting is Impatience is a virtue!
Student culture at the moment in this country lives
life according to this mantra, and it is not surprising. University life does
mean you are living in the fast lane and burning the candle atboth
ends. As a student myself, I can testify that, like the advert says, you do get
up early and stay out late! There are so many opportunities to take advantage
of and not much time to do it. Students are influenced heavily by this branch
of culture because you are constantly striving to achieve, pushing yourself
further and daily learning from experience. A certain amount of drive and
energy is necessary to survive your university life.
However, even though it may seem counter-cultural, I
think it is necessary to disagree with this outlook on life.
It would be impossible to get through life at
university without patience. Life as a student is all about waiting. You begin
by waiting for your A level results; you end by waiting for your degree
results. Patience starts to become central to your way of life.
There are so many times when you have to be patient
with yourself, maybe because you don't know how to use a washing machine or
because you are still experimenting with your alcohol tolerance levels! But
more seriously, you are learning and changing, your character is being formed
and this is a painstaking process.
Within this process there are countless occasions when
you make the wrong decision or don't quite reach your goals and you need to
learn to wait patiently.
Patience is one of the fruits of the spirit listed in
Galatians and is a vital part not only of student living but also of Christian
living. An example of patient Christian living can be seen clearly in the life
of Mary. She receives the angel's message and then waits patiently for the
impact that it will have on her life. She waits patiently throughout her
pregnancy, not knowing what will happen once
Mary's task was to watch and wait patiently, often
knowing that the situation was out of her control.
The factor that makes Mary's
Samsung encourages us to be go-getters and that
waiting and patience will get us nothing. Student living is connected with
learning to be self-sufficient and there is often not time for patience. All
these factors are not bad things in themselves but there must be a move to
stamp out the culture that says waiting doesn't get to the front '.
If we follow Mary's example, we will not only live a
life full of purpose and potential but also find freedom.
Samsung tells us that patiently waiting is a trap and
does not lead to achievement. Mary shows us that patiently waiting whilst
putting your trust in the Lord is a way to fulfil your purpose. Samsung
describes its new phone as 'faster, brighter and better' and says 'Impatience
is a virtue! But God can give us a life that is 'freer, brighter and blessed'