The Art of Patience


Sand Sculptures at Harrison Hot Springs

The Tournament of Sand Sculpture Champions is a highlight in the lives of the Harrison Hot Springs' community. This contest is held yearly in this touristy town, attracting master sculptors from all around the world. Artists have exactly thirty-six hours to finish their masterpieces, built solely out of sand and water. When finished, the sand sculptures are sprayed by a water-soluble compound that will prevent them from drying out.

The carvings are life-sized, and upon completion, they are admired by the thousands of tourists that flood the town each year. The sculpture I admired the most was the one entitled: "The church, the steeple and all the people". The sculpture featured giant hands held together in prayer, topped by a church steeple. Standing by were a pair of hands, displayed palms up with fingers entwined. The faces of typical churchgoers had been carefully carved into the tips of each finger. The artist was patiently trying to give the message that prayer not only reaches heaven, but it affects people as well, especially the ones prayed for. A Biblical message of utter importance, don't you think?

I was amazed by the patience these artists must have had. No prizes, other than the honor of receiving a 1st, 2nd or 3rd placing, were given. The artists did their carvings for board, accommodations, and travel expenses alone. Any profits from the contest are awarded to local charities. Try to imagine the pain-taking effort required to produce such masterpieces - works of art that will eventually be destroyed by the elements! "A waste!" some may think. However the money raised for the charities will benefit thousands.

Patience is always a beneficial attribute, and the best part is, it has no negative side effects. But where can one find patience in a frenzied world renowned for its impatience? Where can you find someone who gladly will spend the time required to attentively listen to everything you say? Is it even possible on this modernized planet?

I know of only One who is renowned for His patience: "And now he shows me off - evidence of his endless patience - to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever." (1 Tim 1:16 The Message) The One who is always patient encourages us to imitate Him and to enjoy the benefits of developing patience.

Patience is not automatic, however. It can only be developed through hardships and trials, events that hardly anyone today would consider tempting! "There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary - we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" (Rom 5:3-5 The Message)

Once patience is developed, you can look forward to what God will do next in your life. Circumstances will no longer be considered happenstance, but opportunities to experience God in one's life. Life will become an adventure with God, a journey that will stretch into eternity.

How is your patience?

Maybe it is time to ask your Heavenly Father to take out His carving tools and shape you into a Masterpiece to His glory, one that cannot be corroded by elements of the weather.

Rob Chaffart

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