Waiting has never come easily for me. Perhaps you find it difficult as well.
In a world of drive-thrus and On Demand television, we never have to wait very long in our daily lives. Hungry? Pop a frozen dinner in the microwave and it will be ready in minutes. Bored? Whip out your smartphone and play a game. Note: Both of these should only be done in moderation.
We have the control to dictate where, when, and how we get what we want most of the time. We take it for granted that just a few decades ago, modern conveniences such as computers and cell phones did not exist.
But some things are out of our control. We don’t get to choose when we meet the person we will marry. We don’t get to choose when we get a promotion or have a baby. When a period of waiting comes up in our lives, the concept is foreign to us. Our everything-on-demand culture has destroyed our ability to wait.
In the Desiring God blog “God Works in the Those Who Wait,” pastor and author David Mathis says that waiting might be what God has for you right now. And if that is the case, you must follow the Jesus set before us of patiently waiting (1 Timothy 1:16).
Christians, we must be patient in the following ways:
1. Be patient with people.
The first step is obvious in theory, but challenging in application. It seems that patience is the last thing on our minds when we get in the slowest line at the grocery store or we are late to work due to a traffic jam.
Mathis writes, “We may be prone to think of patience first in relation to things — whether it’s food service or Internet connection speed. But behind things is people. We live in a personal universe, created by a personal God, and our daily circumstances, even when they feel isolated from everyone else, are inevitably formed and shaped by other people.”
Remember the teaching of Ephesians 4:1-3: “... live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
2. Be patient in doing good.
Of course we want to do the Lord’s work. But sometimes we must wait for the call to do so. And when we hear the Lord’s call, His work must not be rushed.
As Mathis writes, “No significant long-term fruitfulness in this fallen world comes without obstacles and resistance. To serve others in a meaningful way will mean to encounter friction soon enough. Patience, then, is the virtue of soul that helps us persevere in doing good...”
As the parable of the sower and the seed (Matthew 13:3-9) teaches us, the Lord’s work cannot be rushed, but strategically and prayerfully completed.
3. Be patient in suffering.
This is perhaps the most difficult time to demonstrate patience. Whether the root of your suffering is related to your health, family, relationships, finances, or something else, suffering shortens your patience. You just want your struggles to end. But Mathis writes that times of suffering are when God holds you closest.
“God has a special balm to give his children in suffering… And he doubles our joy by enabling us to serve as instruments of his comfort to others who are hurting. Our patience in suffering, then, helps others endure with patience.”
In 2 Corinthians 1:6 we read, “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.”
“Father in Heaven, Help me to remember that it is good to wait for you. In this place of waiting, help me to remember all that you have done for me through Jesus Christ. Help me to remember that your grace is sufficient to not only save me from sin, but to sustain me each and every day. Your grace is at work in me right now, transforming me and making me more like your Son. Nothing can separate me from you. I am safe in your love… May I live for you even while I wait. Help me to obey and remain faithful, no matter how long I am in this place of waiting. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can usually be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap.
Publication date: July 29, 2016