The old saying goes something like this “I’m willing to learn patience but will it take long?” Patience is one of the character qualities that is never actually learned by reading about it. Before you write that correction note to me, hang on. I know the Bible teaches about patience. It illustrates it through the lives of many people, like Job for example. It tells us that one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit controlling our lives is patience. But we don’t actually have a handle on it until we are tested.
I don’t mean an academic test that is made up of subjective and objective questions. I am not referring either to how long a person has lived either. Many people of age are still very impatient. Patience does tend to develop with age but isn’t exclusive to those folks. I would think that at my age I would have fully developed this admirable quality, I have to tell you that I am still a work in progress!
Those who love to fish are great examples of patience. They can sit in their boat, or in their favourite lawn chair on the dock and just enjoy the day. They will chat, have a sandwich or two, and not get too upset if there is not a lot of action at the end of their line. I tend not to be that person, I want something to happen rather quickly! And if it doesn’t maybe it is because I am using the wrong lure or maybe I need to switch to a spot further on down the river. Good fishermen know how to wait.
The lessons that God is trying to teach you and I many times are learned when he puts us in stressful situations. These situations are of various types and situations. They could be waiting for an employment position to open up, it could be waiting for your kids to learn that lesson (you know, the one that drives you crazy as a parent) that you are really anxious that they learn. Whatever the situation, God wants us to wait on him and not try to force our way and our schedule into the discussion.
The Old Testament patriarch Abraham is a prime example. You know the story in Genesis, God promises to make him the Father of multitudes, like the sand on a seashore is the analogy that God uses. But when it does not happen when Abraham thought it should, he makes the bad decision to force his hand into the situation. Whenever you and I do that, you can guarantee that it is going to cause more hurt and more of a delay in the lesson God wants us to learn.
What should we do when we are in a waiting pattern? Here are some things that I am learning:
- Develop spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer.
- Have an accountability partner who you can meet and pray with.
- Continue to trust God wherever you are in the process.
- Give thanks to Him every day for that day!
You and I can trust Him. We can cast all of our care upon Him because He indeed does care for us.
Pastor Bill Finch