Most of us are drawn toward the attributes the Bible calls “fruit of the Spirit.” When we read Galatians 5:22-23 to learn what the Spirit of God produces in us, we think, “Wow, abiding in Christ means I’ll have love, joy, peace…I’m for that!” But then, we read the next quality - patience. Ugh! We recognize that patience is a good thing to have, but we sure don’t like what comes with it! Also aptly called longsuffering, patience takes place when we’re waiting – waiting for our favorite team to have a winning season (or for any team to start playing again!), waiting for physical, emotional, financial or relational pain to come to an end, waiting to get into the grocery store on those X’s that are six feet apart, waiting for our country to re-open and get back to normal.
The Baysinger family have experienced so much change since the middle of March when the world-wide pandemic began. For some people, this new reality launched them into a time of loneliness because they have been forced to isolate away from family and friends. For others, like the Baysinger’s, the last two months have meant quite the opposite. This family of four no longer has any space or time to do their own thing – it’s family time, pretty much all the time! As one family member said, “A nice way to put it is that there are a lot more opportunities to be patient with each other.”
Kevin Baysinger is a commander with the Oxnard Police Department. His wife, April, serves as a children’s ministry coordinator at Ventura Missionary Church, and she also is now working from home for a local mortgage broker. They have a 15-year old son, Grant, and an 11 year-old daughter, Grace.
April says that all this togetherness can make it a lot easier to get on someone’s nerves. Patience can be a moment by moment choice under quarantine. While Kevin and April are juggling work, Grant and Grace are doing on-line learning, and “sometimes it feels like there’s not enough internet to go around!” Time is another resource that has been “squeezed” during this season.
Managing all of this doesn’t automatically produce the fruit of patience. This household of faith has been intentional about connecting to the Vine, to Jesus, which is why this fruit of the Spirit has been growing in their family. Even though it’s a challenge, the Baysingers are spending time alone with God. Kevin has found that mornings work best, and April has chosen evenings. They also have a daily rhythm of listening to Air1 radio and other worship music. Grant and Grace have made youth group (now virtual) a part of their routine, which is more than they were able to do while they were attending school on campus. On Sundays, the whole family enjoys Ventura Missionary’s livestream service. April says, “It’s nice to snuggle up and listen to Doug and discuss any questions then and there.” And, Grant has been developing his own spiritual disciplines, having a quiet time, prayer time and reading Scripture nightly.
The Baysingers are also thinking outward. Grateful and humbled by their own blessings, they look for ways to bless others. They encourage people through texts and phone calls, and they take advantage of practical ways that they can lighten the load for those who are experiencing the ramifications of this time of uncertainty.
As a result, the Baysingers are learning to be more understanding and helpful, and less selfish with each other. Kevin and April’s marriage has been “greatly blessed” during the COVID 19 stay at home orders. April says, “We are more patient with each other, more supportive, and we enjoy being around one another!” They have also been able to spend more quality time with Grant and Grace, running with Grant and working out with Grace – helping them to achieve their goals.
The Baysingers are quick to say that sometimes it’s a struggle and that they’re not perfect, but they are growing closer to God and to each other as they cooperate with the Holy Spirit and bear His fruit. As God has been producing patience in their whole family, beautiful byproducts have developed in the process. God's greater plan is worth waiting through. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Maybe patience is an appealing fruit after all!