Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Maybe not you, but this doesn’t always come naturally to people…hence the numerous reminders to be still (calm), be long suffering, have patience. But as we spend time with God, we are transformed into His image ( Romans 12:2 ) and the fruits of the Holy Spirit are seen in our lives.
Be still and know that I am God…
Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)
If you have ever tried to wash a squirming toddler or puppy, you know it probably took twice as long as it should have because of all the unnecessary motion. I imagine that’s what it’s like when God is working on something but we keep “helping”. Being patient means letting go of restlessness.
Does this mean that if we aren’t still, we won’t know that He IS God. In some ways I believe so. When we are so busy trying to do what seems wise in our own eyes, we do not allow God’s name to be glorified in a situation. He is and will ALWAYS be God but at times like that, we are not paying attention. In fact, we are hindering the process. Imagine how much easier it would be to go through a trial if we slow down enough to let God do His will.
Called to Patience
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)
Love is Patient ( 1 Cor 13:4 ). Therefore impatience is not love.
God is love. God is patient. He is patient when we commit sin and repent over and over again. He is patient when for the umpteenth time we forget to spend time with Him, speak rudely of someone else, spend money unwisely, whatever. He does not condone the behaviour but He has immeasurable patience and will correct us with love, receive us with love. As with the prodigal son, the Father will wait for us to turn around and come home.
A few years ago, I had to actively practice this loving patience that manifests forbearance under strain. What was the strain? People.
I am a largely introverted so constantly dealing with many people can be exhausting for me. So imagine when I began serving in a ministry that required A LOT of face time with MANY people. Best. Thing. Ever. I discovered had a particularly hard time with people not learning or moving at the same speed that I do. I have no problem sitting and listening to people’s problems, etc but for some reason when it came to “getting things done” – whoosh. Yup there went my patience and in came the irritation. And we know being on the receiving end of that does not feel loving.
God loves. It matters to Him that we show His love. I couldn’t be that vessel of love if I was more focused on efficiency than giving an encouraging smile. It wasn’t that I did not care, but that caring was being suffocated by impatience. To honour God, I had to learn to get over myself, slow down and meet others where they were. And guess what? I learned a lot from them. Duh!
Now it’s funny because once in a while someone will say “Oh you are so patient”, and I laugh inwardly because it is God that has refined me in this process – He surrounded me with people who modeled that grace and patience, teaching me to maintain my pace without sacrificing love. And of course, I always had the Holy Spirit (My Helper) to remind me to slow down.
The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NKJV)
Impatience can be pride. Thinking that you know the best way to accomplish a task. As we go through life, we hit those situations where you literally have no control. This can be a terrifying thing if you are used to having answers, or being the one to figure out a solution. Imagine having to slow all the way down that you have to listen for God’s still small voice.
Being patient means being gentle with a situation and/or person.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Hebrews 6: 13-15
Abram and his wife had already endured for many years. Lookt what happened when Abraham allowed Sarah’s impatience to take over – adultery with her maidservant Hagar, Ishmael born out of wedlock, he then grew up under less than ideal circumstances, not to mention numerous wars. And when they repented and went back to trusting God and not thinking they knew best? Father of many nations with descendants as uncountable as the stars!
God has crazy endurance. Waiting thousands of years the lay the foundation for the arrival of Jesus on Earth. He wasn’t making up His mind on a plan of action – from the fall of Adam and Eve, God’s plan was already in place but He unfolded it slowly (by our standards) – teaching us who He is the whole time.
Patience has loads of benefits – the main one being that it pleases God when we are obedient. But we also get to see God glorified in our lives with our prayers answered and other blessings manifesting in our lives
Walking in the knowledge that God is in control. Knowing that He orders our steps. Knowing that when it is time to move, He will tell us.
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus
Romans 15: 4 -5
Guidance / Direction
After centuries of slavery, He told the Israelites when to move out of Egypt. Of course they subsequently gained a lot of impatience – they couldn’t even wait for Moses to return from going to the mountain to seek God and created a golden calf to worship. They straight up forgot to be patient and trust God. Staying steadfast despite opposition was NOT them. Crying about manna but no meat, no water, giants in their destination, etc.
Where did that impatience get them? 40 years to finish an 11 day journey. If that is not an example of learning patience the hard way, I don’t know what is.
Imagine what would have happened if the Israelites said “Dude, we waited for forever to be freed from Egyptian rule, SURELY we can chill for a day or two so Moses can come and tell us what God said”. (yes, my Israelites are Cali surfers). Nevertheless with much patience on God’s part, and even Moses had to be patient, their descendants were led into the promised land.
Hannah FINALLY becoming a mother. She desired this for so long, kept going to God, endured ridicule and disappointment. But in the end she rejoiced in the birth of Samuel who went on to serve God all his life.
Patience is a muscle. It wont spontaneously increase or decrease without action on our part. In every situation we have the opportunity to CHOOSE to be patient. Even though I’m better, God is still working out this muscle in a number of areas of my life…I like to stay busy. So being still is by His grace