Monday, October 26, 2009


Spirit & Truth # 152

By Rev. Greg Smith

He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored (Luke 6:10).

They say you should never pray for patience, because God might present a situation in your life that requires you to learn it. Lately, I’ve learned to be patient, while being a patient. The words are, of course, related.

Recently, I’ve been dealing with kidney stones. My experience has not been as agonizing as some of the horror stories that I’ve heard from friends. However, today I’ll have my third doctor’s visit to deal with these little kidney boogers, and tomorrow I’ll probably have to get them blasted. I’m learning to be patient with the process of being a patient.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, The English word patient, as an adjective, has been around for a long time, since around the year 1320. It comes from the Latin word patientem, and means “bearing or enduring without complaint.” The noun form of the English word patient has been in use since 1393, and refers to a “suffering or sick person.”

The English word patience is a bit older, dating to around 1225. It comes from the old French pacience, and is related to the Proto-Indo-European base pie, which means “to damage or hurt.” The Online Etymology Dictionary defines “Proto-Indo-European” as “the hypothetical reconstructed ancestral language of the Indo-European family. The time scale is much debated, but the most recent date proposed for it is about 5,500 years ago.” From this early base, we see a relationship to the English word passion, in the sense of suffering, and in the sense of strong emotion as it is related to the Greek word pathos.

Another related word in English is passive, which dates to the year 1388. It comes from the Latin passivus, which means “capable of feeling or suffering.” The meaning “not active” is newer, dating to the year 1477.

So why all this study of language? To underscore the point that when we find ourselves as medical patients, we have to learn patience. This patience means adopting an attitude of passivity as we experience passion and pain. A patient can be nothing but patient as he waits in the doctor’s office. She can be nothing but passive as she submits to the doctor’s treatment.

When Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand,” the man with the withered hand did exactly as he was told. He submitted to the Lord’s will, becoming passive under the care of the Master. Whether you’re receiving medical care, or seeking God’s healing in more spiritual and emotional ways, remember to submit passively to the Lord’s will. Perhaps then, you’ll find the relationship between being passive, and the Spanish word paz, which is the English word peace.

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