Truthfully, I have never been one who finds “being patient” to be easy. I’m a relatively quick mover, a quick decision maker, and a quick thinker. Being “quick” comes in handy when working with small children who have tiny attention spans or coming up with an idea of where to go out to eat after Sunday service and everyone in my group is starving but can’t make a decision on what to eat.
But the trait of being a quick mover doesn’t always lend itself well to certain situations or decisions where patience is involved.
About a month ago while driving to my new job, a job that I had waited, prayed, and prepared for, I had this random revelation that simply “waiting” isn’t necessarily “being patient”.
There have been things that I have wanted so badly and in the period of waiting, where I thought I was being especially patient, I was fighting my mind constantly. My emotions would flip quickly, I would question every single second of every single day, and I had little trust in the process of what was happening – meaning I simultaneously had little trust in God.
I was waiting – but this waiting was of no benefit to me spiritually or physically. I would essentially be “waiting” myself sick with worry, insecurity, and doubt.
Patience is necessary in periods of waiting, but it’s a peaceful, trusting period. It’s a period of perfecting, of preparation, and growing faith in God’s ability to perform.
I found during my period of “waiting” that I needed to focus my thoughts and attention, not on what I was waiting for, but on the One who would make it all come to pass in perfect time. Philippians 4:8 has become my “safe verse”, if you will.
When my mind struggles into cloudiness and uncertainty, I remind myself to “think on whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.” He is all of those things. I think on the face of Jesus who sits, perfectly patient, at the right hand of God – waiting for the perfect moment to come get us and take us home.
All throughout history are scattered stories of those who were patient enough to see God’s perfect plan come to fruition, and when they sometimes failed and tried to speed up the already perfect process, no one was satisfied with the result. Abraham waited YEARS for a child until he and Sarah devised a plan to use Hagar as the childbearer. We know how that worked out.
Imagine if Moses hadn’t waited out Pharaoh’s hardened heart and left the Israelites in Egypt or if Joshua had stopped one lap short of the walls of Jericho?
God still would have prevailed and had a plan to top all plans, but how much better is it when willing hearts sit patiently waiting? Waiting with hope, confidence, assurance, and peace?
James 1:4 says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” To be patient is to be living in love, because love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). To be patient is to walk in the Spirit and spend time in and with the Lord (Galatians 5:22). To be patient is to be free from worry and doubt and to live in utter JOY that what matters is not the amount of time that passes between now and your desired “thing”, but what you do and Whose Face you seek during that time.
So, dear reader if you’re in a period of waiting and you feel strained, confused, and unhappy, reevaluate whether you are waiting vainly in worry and uncertainty or actively seeking calm, peaceful, joy-filled patience in The Lord. The great thing about a relationship with Jesus is that He is loving, forgiving, and willing to teach you anything you need to know to get through this life. You just have to be patient.