Patience Wears Thin at 40 Degrees

Unlike most folks, I am a patient person.  I surprise myself with my own long suffering sometimes.  In fact this is largely what made me so good at my job when I was working in the psych hospital.  I would say it has a lot to do with my attraction to/from the streets as well.

This doesn’t mean I always have endless patience.  I have weaknesses same as any other, except not the same weaknesses generally.  I find my patience wears thin at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sometimes I think about that very first night I joined a group at an all night prayer vigil down at Mayhon Library.  It did not freeze that night.  It was early in the Fall of 2009, but it was damp and cold.  I became so desperately miserable around 2 a.m.  I toughed it out for a couple hours, but I was praying and looking in those windows of the library at all the books under the security lights kept safe, warm, and dry.  I was jealous of the books!  This while humanity lay shivering just feet from such comfort.

I began to have a new set of questions that night:  How did God’s good world get ordered this way?  How can it be that a “Christian” town such as Lubbock keeps the books inside, but lets the image bearer of God languish in the cold and damp just outside that warm, dry space?  Where is the Church?  Is this not the Church’s flock of lost sheep?

I am actually being liberal in my estimation.  I bet these questions came home to roost at about 45 degrees, really, but I like to think I have more patience than that.

My questions were not selfish in nature.  The cause I joined that night was not for me.  I had a warm bed at home, which I eventually went back to around four in the morning.  But the questions went with me.  They haunt me still.  And since that night, I have slept in a lot colder, wetter, windier conditions many times after sharing worship behind dumpsters, in empty lots, city parks, under “no trespassing” signs, AND out front of locked up church-house doors.

Am I bugging you?  Do I wear on your patience?

I remember that Dr. King wrote his Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he too called on the Church to finally get busy with Our Father’s Business.  Yeah, I will claim that great company to be in.  After all, that is Jesus out there being neglected yet again tonight, and he ranks a mite higher than Dr. King.  Oh yeah.  That’s him.  He tells you as much when he identifies himself with “the least of these brothers…” (Matt. 25:40).  This is the same Jesus who proclaims, “Behold!  I stand at the door and knock!  If you open up, I will come in and party with you…” (Rev. 3:20).

It’s his knock at the door bugging you; not mine.  It’s colder than 40 degrees out there, and that incessant knocking that is wearing on your patience is Jesus!  Perhaps you should answer now before his patience runs thin and Judgment comes knocking.




  1. T. F. Thompson · January 11

    It doesn’t have to be that cool to wear my patience thin. The same is true for hot conditions. Extremely hard for me to sleep when I am sweating and swatting mosquitoes. Interesting that books have it better than some people. Seems that books aren’t homeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · January 11

      Yeah… people / books… which is more important?

      Don’t get me wrong. Both are important. But which is MORE important to care for? Human wisdom or the Image of God?

      Judgment hangs on such questions.

      I think the Church should be answering them.

      (So glad to have you visit. Thanx)

      Liked by 1 person

      • T. F. Thompson · January 11

        Hell, in this society even a beer can in more important than a person. I am no longer surprised by the actions of our brothers and sisters for I know their nature.


  2. clashofcashntrash · January 11

    I get you warning about Judgment. But normally people warn about judgment – little “j” – instead. You know. Don’t judge others.

    As I am thinking about your post, you asked How did God’s good world get ordered this way? And then you ask about the church part in that.

    You are right. The church is supposed to be in the world ordering business, and ordering it at another level than the rest of the world orders itself at. But I can’t help but think how many Christians blame the poor for addiction and alcoholism so that they can then write them off. That is judgment with a little “j”. It is selfish judgment. It says I don’t have to care about others that would require a lot of care and energy, and I can go on caring for myself. Not only that, but now I can do it under cover of the church as if it now has God’s seal of approval on my judgment of others.

    There is more to this judgment than just the fear of God. There is the arrogance of ourselves and all the charades we play to make it look legit.


    • Agent X · January 11

      Good point, Larry.

      You know what? Though???

      Not only is it merely a matter of being judgmental in some wrong sense, it’s stacking the deck against these people too. Yeah, the world is now ordered in this very ungodly way, it judges others wrongly AND does so seemingly with God’s endorsement, but it makes the world crazy now too.

      Seriously, think about this: If you are one of the disadvantaged in this world order, now you are told that it is legitimated by God this way, that your disadvantage is your own fault and ordained by God that way. Wow… This isn’t any different than white slave masters of yesteryear telling that to poor black slaves.

      THEN… if one of these lowly, disadvantaged people falls for this crap, their own self-sabotaged lifestyle is at least in part a by-product of that warped world order.

      I don’t want to completely erase personal responsibility from the equation, but it is now buried under these other issues that confuse it. So, we really should stop with all the “don’t give money to the addict” crap. It shows the person struggling with it no respect or human dignity. Talk about When Helping Hurts! Trying not to hurt when helping does at least as much damage as just helping does!

      Liked by 1 person

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