“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
Last week when Governor Roy Copper extended the stay-at-home order, I felt my patience waning. I am an extrovert so social distancing for a month seemed doable but to extend that month seemed daunting. I had to have a little talk with myself about the virtue of patience after receiving Governor Cooper’s updated message. Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Remaining calm even when you have been waiting forever or dealing with something painstakingly slow or teaching someone how to do something and they just don’t get it. Inherent in patience is hope that tomorrow will indeed be different and that God’s timing is always perfect.
The person in the Bible who epitomizes patience is Hannah. Hannah’s story is told in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel. She was living during a difficult time in Israel’s history – there was great division among her people, fighting with foreign nations, lawlessness and people were doing what “was right in their own eyes” without regard for God or other people. But things were about to change for Hannah and for her people – God was about to do a new thing in her world. Hannah was happily married, but she was unable to conceive and have children. It was her practice to go to worship and persevere in prayer, asking God to give to her a child. A child – new life. God did hear her prayer and, in God’s time, she did conceive and give birth to a son – Samuel. Samuel will grow to become the priest (and prophet) who would anoint Saul and David as kings of Israel. What is significant about Hannah is that she had patience born of hope and she persevered in prayer. God heard her, and you and me, when we cry to God and God responds to our cries with new life.
We have a little longer to stay-at-home and practice social distancing. While we are practicing social distancing, I am renewing my commitment to the practice of patience and prayer, as I envision the new life God is bringing to us.
Reverend debbie osterhoudt
I am very excited to join in the ministry at Peace Presbyterian Church as interim pastor! I graduated from Vanderbilt University and received my Master of Divinity from Columbia Seminary in Decatur, GA. Before serving at Peace Presbyterian, I served in Triangle area churches as pastor, associate pastor and interim pastor for 33 years. I have a passion for my ministry and study, travel, walking, sailing (which I learned from my father) and gardening.