Patience has been defined as learning to accept difficult situations as from God without giving Him a deadline to remove them. It is one of life’s most difficult lessons. We know we need it, but we shun the process by which to learn it. It is called for in every area of life and is often the quality that opens doors of opportunity and makes our way prosperous.
WE WANT IT NOW!
Ours is the “now generation.” We want it now! We cannot wait for God’s direction; we move ahead on our own schedules. We cannot wait for His healing; we want the doctor’s “quick fix.” We cannot wait for sex without marriage; we damage the relationship by demanding immediate gratification. We cannot wait for our wealth to grow; we prefer “get rich quick” schemes, which promise an immediate return. Having it “now” is a costly and disappointing approach to life.
In the Old Testament the admonition is to “wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalm 27:14). And the promise is, “those who wait on the LORD…shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:9). In the New Testament parable of the sower, we read, “But the [seed] that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).
Why do we have to wait for that promotion when it is obvious that we deserve it? Why do we have to wait for the new house when God knows we so desperately need it? Why the delay in our salary increase when it has been promised? If God is in everything, why the delays?
WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT?
God requires us to wait for our needs and desires for several reasons:
- What we want is right for us, but we are not ready for it.
- Our motivation for having it is not in keeping with God’s purpose for us.
- The delay may be God’s way of trying to get our attention about sin in our lives that we have refused to face.
- God teaches us discipline through waiting.
- Sometimes the reason is the effect it will have on someone else.
- God wants to teach us to depend on Him, not on ourselves or others.
- God may simply want to teach us to trust His ways and timing, and to learn that they are the best.
How do we learn patience? Through trials and tribulations! We are encouraged to “count it all joy” when we face those trying times in life. But why? Not because it is pleasant, but because it is profitable. Trials produce patience. Tribulations produce patience. In times of difficulty we learn to endure, to bear up, to persevere, to keep holding on when no help is in sight. When we can do so without setting a deadline for surrender, then we have developed one of life’s greatest qualities – patience.