My wife forgot the boxed food from our meal, so I returned inside the restaurant to fetch it. I was glad to see the box was still there, but a bit disappointed to see a new couple at the table. I explained why I was there and reached for the box. The woman of the couple glared at me and said, " If you touch that box I will smack your hand." I opened the box anyway, and apologized for I had gone to the wrong table.
That was an unplanned test of her patience (she failed). We all give others chances daily to be polite, calm and peaceful, or chances to be rude, agitated and warlike! How do we react to surprises or disappointments? Some of us are by nature fairly unflappable, and I like to see myself in that catagory. But we all get stressed out by some circumstances, unless we walk humbly with Jesus Christ. Someone said we cannot always choose our circumstances but we can always choose how we react to then.
We can choose to be Christlike, once converted to follow him, or we can choose to follow our own inclinations. On a given day, I might have reacted much worse if someone had offered to take the remains of my meal! No Christian is locked into the will of God; we must constantly and consciously pray for God to lead us if we really want to be led by God.
One of the most Godly people who ever lived was Corrie Ten Boom, the Dutch concentration camp survivor who was put there for hiding Jews during the nazi occupation of her country. After the war she was in Cuba about to speak at a church, when she became irritated at the loud drums in her ears and the oppressive heat. Then she realized that these folks were closer to God than she was, and she repented.
Almost daily we have people or circumstances that will irritate us if we let them. We can give in to the natural urge to pout or to shout, or we can pray that God give us his attitudes and actions and words, and pray to learn all he wants us to learn in each situation. No, I do not always do that either. But I pray to be that way more and more. And I think I am somewhat more aware of my need to do that. The closer we walk with God the more we see that he is holy and we are not, as a bright light shows more dirt that needs to be cleaned than a dull one does. We have a dull light indeed when we compare ourselves to others to see how we are doing. Or we may measure ourselves merely by our own standards, as the little boy did who wrote that he did not hit or bite anyone today, so it was a good day. At the end of this day I hope we can say that also (nor threatened to smack anyone), and that instead we have been converted, and sincerely and humbly follow Jesus Christ as Lord!