“I don’t have time for this.” I spewed, totally exasperated with my family. Tossing my phone onto my bed, I stomped away. My husband looked at me and said “Relax, babe. be Patient.” There it was again – that word that has haunted my life for a long time.
Patience. One word that always makes your skin bristle just a bit. It’s like the word “Submit”. You read it in the Bible and your flesh has an immediate reaction to it, faster than a gluten-intolerant person eating bread. If you live in the United States of America – being patient isn’t something that is practiced. In the age of Amazon, Google, and the internet – learning to wait for something is unnecessary. Ours is a culture that has become accustomed to having everything now.
Here’s why I decided to research patience in the Bible – Everyone always compliments me on it when I am calm and things are going my way, but no one ever says I have it when difficult circumstances hit.
It’s a fruit of the Spirit – I’m supposed to have it right? So I decided to do a word search for verses discussing it in the Bible – there had to be something I was missing about being patient. Sure enough – I think there’s a bit I originally missed.
Here’s what I have learned:
If you do a word search for “patience” in the Bible – you will find out that all the verses are almost always piggy-backed with the term perseverance or suffering. All of the verses talk about waiting patiently for the Lord and he will…. remove or adjust the suffering. This leads me to believe:
- That patience isn’t just about waiting when it’s easy to wait. It’s about waiting when it’s hard to wait. When it’s easy – everyone does it. It isn’t a problem to seem patient and kind when things are going your way but it is hard when things aren’t going your way.
- It is best shown as a fruit of the spirit when it is under persecution or suffering. Think about it – if it was easy and you didn’t need to have it during suffering – even atheists would have patience. Then there would be no difference between believers and non-believers, how would Christ be glorified in that?
Ok – Verses to show you what I mean:
- Job 23: 10-12 – The Summary of Job is that God allows everything to be taken from Job – his home, family, friends, health….. pretty much everything but his life. Job remains faithful to God. So immediately we see suffering.
The verses say “But he knows the way that I take; When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.”
What I love about these verses is that immediately Job acknowledges that God knows the way and that he is allowing what is happening to happen.
Second – Job makes the point that God will produce Jobs character to be as gold.
Gold has to go through a lot of heat to get purified.
I want you to sit on that for a minute. A Lot of Heat to be Purified. Sometimes things happen that we don’t want or like – think of it as being purified.
Third – Job states that he hasn’t and will not turn aside from Gods ways; he treasures Gods words and values them more than food. While this speaks more to faithfulness than patience, but I think it is an eye opener. Joyce Meyers makes a point in one of her podcasts about patience that it isn’t just about waiting but what you do while you wait that makes the difference.
Being Faithful to God while you wait is Patience.
2. Psalms 40:1-3 ” I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
I love these verses. I stumbled upon them several years ago when I was really struggling with depression.
Everywhere in the Bible – God says to cry out to him. He also makes a point to talk about those who did so and how he listened to them. I would like to note that he never promises to act immediately. With Hannah in 2 Samuel – He waited years. She cried out to him many times and he waited years. She was patient and faithful. Many characters in the Bible – they Pray and ask and wait for years while they endure.
Patience seems like it is continually walking with God even when nothing changes when we want it to.
3. Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for 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.”
This verse brings imagery into my mind. Think of a person who has gone into physical rehabilitation – they can’t really walk and they grow weary/faint when they do so too long. They have to renew their strength by practicing exercises and consistently working muscles to grow up to what they were.
When you wait for God – You have to patiently and faithfully dedicate yourself to practicing his word so that when he tells you – you can run the race for the Gospel. Anyone who exercises will tell you that they don’t run marathons overnight – it takes self-control, faithfulness and patience to get where they are to do it.
4. Romans 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Think – we practice faithfulness to God during suffering, And we rejoice, because it produces endurance – an endurance to run the race for Christ, which produces character – More fruits of the Spirit and a character that stands out, which gives us hope and we will not be put to shame!
5. James 1: 2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
We are to count it joy when we have trials. You always hear stories of people who lose their spouses or people who are homeless or have nothing who say “it’s ok because God is still good.” They are counting it a blessing and a joy to have the trial. You know what they will have when they are done – STEADFASTNESS.
Think of Steadfastness as – faithfulness, stick-to-it-ness. The ability to hold fast to what they believe and know. They will have perseverance. Which will aid in the growth of becoming perfect and complete (don’t trip over that too much – it’s a stepping stone in that direction.).
In Summary, here’s what I have learned about patience:
- It isn’t how long you wait – it’s what you do while you wait.
- You have to excercise your faith while you wait so that you can run the race when it is time.
- it produces faithfulness, steadfastness, and if you practice it – praising through trials
- You will have renewed strength when it passes
- People will arise and glorify God by witnessing your story
- You will come out as gold.
- It is a stepping stone for perfection and completion in Christ.
I hope this helps you all understand patience like it helped me. As always – feel free to leave a prayer request or question. God Bless.