Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NIV
On Wednesday evenings, our kids have been learning about the Fruit of the Spirit. And guess what we’re up to? PATIENCE. And guess what my devotions were about today? PATIENCE!
Boy, it’s like God is trying to get me to pay attention or something.
It can be so hard, in our instant-gratification-purchase-but-wait-10-to-30-business-days-for-a-refund-society to deal with something as simple as patience. There’s simply too much to do, and not enough time to do it in! We need to do all the things AND be ready for anything AND deal with the realities of what actually happens at all times! But is any of that really even possible? I once heard someone say, “Patience is a virtue, but I’m not gifted with that particular virtue.” But James chapter 4 tells us that we don’t have because we don’t ask God. And the reality is, if we ask God for patience, God will provide! Indeed, sometimes God will give us patience by granting us opportunities of frustration in which to practice it!
This week, the kids learned that patience means “waiting in a calm way,” and that there are many productive things they can do in the meantime to help them be patient. Andrew and Atticus prefer “coloring” and “going to church” when they don’t get to do what they want when they want it. Addison likes to “play with her little sister” and knows she can also “pray” to help her wait calmly and have patience. Desmond, when he gets frustrated and impatient with one game, will problem-solve to “fix what’s wrong,” or “play a different game instead.” Logan and James like “finding other things to do” to distract themselves. Graham likes to “read” to patiently pass the time.
There are many things we can do to practice patience – and all of them take intentionality, purposefulness, and choice. We choose to respond, rather than react. We choose to take a moment to examine the realities of God’s grace and provision in the midst of the circumstances we want to quickly resolve. We choose to accept when God says, simply, “Wait.” And that can be hard to do, Kat Lee says; “When the baby is crying, the toddler is having a tantrum and your 6-year-old can’t find his glove for his T-ball game you needed to be at 10 minutes ago, patience can be elusive.” Luckily, the Bible reminds us often that patience is indeed a virtue, and that our God is big enough to handle ANY circumstance, and will do so in GOD’S own timing – not ours. God knows far better than we do what needs to happen when – and recognizes better than we do that maybe we’re not yet ready for the plan God has prepared, and waiting is the only thing that will get us there. Just remember – have patience!
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (NIV)
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (NKJV)
A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. (NIV)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (NLT)
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (NIV)
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (NIV)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)