There is one thing you may not know about me unless you have lived with me for at least a week and that is that I am impatient. It is one of my greatest flaws. You’ve heard the adage, “Some things get better with age.” Well it is not true when it comes to my patience. I am a Texan, but I lived in Philadelphia for 3 years while I was working on my doctorate, and when I came back, I remember my brother said, ” You are meaner now!” I got used to the fast-paced living up north and when I moved back to the south it was really hard for me to cope! As a mom I struggle with patience as my 4 year old wants to dress herself on the day I am already running late (which is most days with 2 kids) or my 15 month old doesn’t want to eat anything in the house.
I think our society as a whole is less patient than ever. Everything happens so fast nowadays. I remember the days of dial up, the days I had to wait for friends to get on AIM to chat and the days I would wait with a cassette tape until the song I liked came on the radio so I could record it. Ain’t nobody got time for that, anymore!
At the click of a button I’ve purchased items on Amazon and of course it will be here in less than 2 days. Google tells me everything I’ve ever wanted to know, within minutes. The chic-fil-a server walks to my car to take my order, so I can get my fast-food…faster. We have been trained to not wait, so on the rare occasions in life we have to wait, we get upset. When we see a long line at the grocery store or someone taking a long time to make an order in the drive through lane, or ,God forbid, someone drives slightly below the speed limit, we become frustrated, even angry! (we’ve seen the scary road rage videos)
I think God knew that we as humans are and will be impatient. That is why patience is a fruit of the Spirit -Galatians 5:22. We can’t be patient on our own, we need the Holy Spirit to help us and teach us to be patient. People always say, “Don’t ever pray, God, teach me to be patient!” Even if you don’t pray that prayer, God will often make us wait for those things we want most in life. Maybe you had to wait for awhile before finding the love of your life. Maybe you had to wait a lot longer than 9 months to meet your tiny little baby. Maybe you are still waiting for your dream job, or for healing in your body. The waiting is never fun, its exhausting. It can be lonely and confusing. But there is always a purpose, a purpose that we don’t usually see in the waiting period, but afterwards. In the waiting He is building in us His own character, so we become more like Christ.
God is “merciful and very patient” Exodus 34:6
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” Psalm 103:8
“Love is patient” 1 Corinthians 13:4
Sometimes when I see the wreckage this world has become, the broken sinful people that live in it, and the hot mess I am on a daily basis, I wonder how God can be so patient. How can He be so merciful and gracious?
He is good, perfect and lacking nothing. He doesn’t need me or you! He can wipe the whole slate clean and start over. Yet, He remains patient. He pursues us daily. His gives us new mercies, every day. He waits with arms open wide until we come to our senses like the prodigal son. He forgives over and over and over again. His love has no end.
I am so grateful for His patience toward me! My prayer is that as I remember and experience His patience, I can also be patient toward those around me!