Arms Too Short to Box with God: Not Patient

When I wrote Life in the Time of COVID-19 a year ago, I confessed my anxiety about what was to come. At the time, I admitted to my fear.

I am frequently scared, but my God never is. I AM SECURE in the knowledge that in an imperfect world, a Perfect God loves us and abides with us through all things, and for that, I am abundantly grateful. It is a lasting reminder that God is good.


I have NEVER claimed patience. God does not care. I am soothed by James Weldon Johnson’s reminder, written in AAVE, and first appearing in The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and then again in God’s Trombones

“yo’ arm’s too short to box wid God!”

I have adopted those words as my personal positioning statement, and in the moment, they make things hurt less. I’ll never be lauded for patience, but I will always, whether at my very worst or very best, always be loved by God. We need only to grant ourselves permission. That makes my lack of everything else MORE THAN ENOUGH.

As I Reflect

on the year that was, I am abundantly grateful for lacking patience. It is an anointing and rare blessing. It’s also NOT for everyone.

  • Social justice advocates are rarely patient.
  • George Floyd could ill-afford the luxury of patience.
  • Five hundred, thirty-thousand, eight-hundred-twenty-one people in the US died, patiently waiting for a solution to the pandemic.
  • One more person needing me to wait my turn about ANYTHING I know God is calling me to, will understand my level of impatience.

While patience is a fruit of the spirit, it is not the only one. I lean on Matthew 11:12 (NKJV)

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

It is the opinion of some biblical scholars, with whom I agree, that you may interpret this as, “The kingdom presses ahead relentlessly and only the relentless press their way into it.” 

I am not impatient, 


About this time each year, I return to a regular practice of running. First begun as a legitimate way to spend time alone, I return to it as moving meditation. Because I am impatient, I enjoy time alone with my thoughts WHILE honoring my temple. There’s a lot going on in my head. Whether my admonishments to “Be Patient” are intended to harm me or whether that harm is merely incidental, it’s toxic. Spoken “in love” by those intent upon bludgeoning me with the Gospel adds insult to injury, particularly when hurled alongside accusations that I am harming them when they’re trying to advocate on my behalf. Pardon me? The kindest thing I can say in reply is, “Who asked for your help?” And see there, I didn’t even cuss (thought I thought it in my head, I PROMISE.)

I am relentless because Jesus was. I am relentless because Jesus is. I am relentless because Jesus represents,

the transformation of everyday life through a new awakening of compassion, courage, truthfulness and justice . . . works in progress, born out of enormous pain and extraordinary hope, efforts which are sure to inspire many and probably offend many, as well.”

I’m sure you knew that, right?

My arms are waaaay too short to box with God. God birthed within me a warrior’s fire and a fighting spirit. That means knowing I can never be anyone besides whom God created, I am


. . . and committed. I proclaim Jeremiah’s complaint (Jeremiah 20:9 NIV). Anything God calls me to, whether or not I like it, becomes

. . . like a fire,
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
    indeed, I cannot.”



My arms may be too short to box with God, but get between me and that to which God calls me?

Perhaps you’d better not.

Chelle Wilson
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