For most of human history, most people’s lives were mapped on to the relatively slow cyclical rhythms of the seasons. Life was demanding and difficult because it had a primary, and at times ruthless, focus on subsistence, and so was largely dictated by the annual migration patterns of fish and herd animals, plant and fruit cultivation and harvesting, rainy seasons, and available sunlight.
Now as we settle into the longer darker hours and the colder nights our reserve of patience is called upon even more.
God created us as organisms, not machines. There are millions of reasons why the fullness of time when God sent forth his Son occurred in the first century (Galatians 4:4). But one reason was so that the Son would frequently use agricultural metaphors to illustrate spiritual truths. Think of the parables of the sower (Matthew 13:1–9), the wheat and weeds (Matthew 13:24–30), and the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31–32). Think of metaphors of the fruit-bearing trees (Matthew 7:16–18), the vine and branches (John 15:1–8), and the reaping of souls as a harvest (Matthew 9:37–38; John 4:35–38). And Jesus’s apostles also used such metaphors, for instance spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22–23) and fields (1 Corinthians 3:6–9).
All these readings refer to the wait. We must learn to wait for the season, time and opportunity to present itself. The long-term beneficial effect of slow, incremental transformation through the exercise of habit rather than impulse develops, over time, deeper, richer, more complex. In other words, enjoy the time.
Take deep breaths Patience over daily hassles—traffic jams, long lines at the grocery store, a malfunctioning computer—seems to go along with good mental health. In particular, people who have this type of patience are more satisfied with life and less depressed.