As I began today’s reading I noticed how easily distracted I became and more importantaly, impatient. I truly hate to admit this but I wanted the reading to be over because for “me” it was not an easy read and at first pass-through I just couldn’t grab onto a “nugget” or a verse that inspired me. The “nugget” was right there in front of me…Patience, what it means to have it and how it impacts my life on a daily basis. I can remember as a child being told that I needed to be patient but I didn’t understand what that meant but I knew that I didn’t think that patience was “fun”. As an adult I know that when I take the time to sit back and wait rather than “react”, life runs so much smoother. There are synonyms for patience: long-suffering, resignation, and forbearance. A “twist” on the negativity of these synonyms is simply that patence is the willingness to tolerate delay with calmness and self-control.
Jesus is the role model for patience. He was very patient with His disciples, they could be lazy, selfish and slow to behave but He never “reacted”, but rather he refused to complain displaying self-control, humility and generosity. In fact if you think of God’s patience and recognize that He has waited thousands of years to keep His promise of the Kingdom of Heaven to us it is as if He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on salvation. He wants everyone to repent and accept His offer of new life with Him. (2 Peter 3:9)
Lynne Chapman writes that “2 Thessalonians 1:4 says that when we face hardships, we can be patient because we know that God uses these trials for our growth and our good.”
Tips for being patient:
- When we don’t know how a situation will turn out, we can wait without worry, because we know our future is secure. We remember that God has promised this to us and we believe Him.
- When things seem to go wrong, we must trust that God is working for our ggod in all things. Not just in the isolated instances when it is obvious that the outcome is good for us. Romans 8:28
- We can wait without worry or frustration because we know Who is at the controls. Impatience comes from wanting to be in control. It comes from not wanting to give power to someone else and not wanting to admit that there is a powerful God Who is in the driver’s seat. So get in the passenger seat and let Him do the driving.
So patience is a virtue, a difficult one for many of us. Everyday our patience is tested; sometimes in small things; like my wanting to get this reading over, or in major, life-altering events. But as Peter says in 1:13 we must “prepare [our] minds for action”. We must be intentional about increasing our patience, we must practice both human-directed patience, i.e., waiting a turn in line, or the more challenging that is God-directed. Patience with God involves faith, and to exercise faith is to surrender final control of one’s life. To lack faith is to give in to one’s desire for control. So our patience with God will only be as strong as our ability to overcome this desire and surrender every aspect of our lives.(Spiegel) The most difficult part of God-directed patience is that God may not satisfy our desires in the manner in which we think they should be satisfied, He will satisfy them they way that is best for us and the plan that He alone has created.
Patience is not an easy Fruit to produce, but with trust in God’s help, it is ours.