Patience. I love waiting in lines. Really l-o-n-g ones, like the kind at Disneyland ~ the more times the line wraps around a corner, the better. And I really, REALLY love it when the person in line in front of me at the grocery store s-l-o-w-l-y pulls out her checkbook and starts writing a check. That’s my favorite…NOT! (And for those of you not familiar with checks, they are small rectangular pieces of paper that are actually bank notes that allow you to draw money against your checking account.)
Patience…it eludes me sometimes. Actually, lots of times. And if I get impatient with the insignificant things in life, what about the important stuff?
Like waiting for test results from the doctor.
Or waiting for a prodigal to come home.
Or waiting to find out if I got the job.
Sure, it’s a cliché, but like many clichés, it’s still true ~ patience is a virtue. You won’t find those exact words in the Bible, but you can’t miss the fact that a patient attitude is a reflection of God’s spirit in us. The apostle Paul tells us in the book of Galatians that it is one of the fruits we will bear if the spirit of God is leading our lives.
So what is patience exactly? Besides waiting, which is something we do ~ what is patience, which is actually a state of being? First, I can tell you what patience is not:
It isn’t worry.
It isn’t frustration.
It isn’t complaining.
And it isn’t taking cuts in line.
Patience is trust. It is trusting in God’s timing as we wait in peace. No wonder they say that having it is a virtue! I was struggling with having a patient attitude this past week.
I am waiting to hear back regarding a speaking opportunity that would be so exciting to have.
I am waiting for people to buy the many things we have listed for sale as part of our business.
I am waiting to hear how my mother-in-law is recovering from a recent fall.
Waiting. And in the midst of waiting, I find myself fretting and trying to make things happen on my own. I’m about to take cuts in line…and then a few words from the gospel of John jumped out at me this morning.
Jesus’s words, “My hour has not yet come.” It was a simple request. His mother wanted Jesus to turn water into wine. But first he tells her, it wasn’t time for him to do a miracle. He went ahead and honored her request, and I do wonder why, if it wasn’t time. But he is God, after all, and often his ways are beyond our understanding. Really, though, it was probably because it was his Mom that was asking!
The point is, and it is shown in other parts of scripture, that even Jesus, in His human form, subjected himself to the perfect timing of God’s plan.
He didn’t allow the people to make him a king on earth.
He didn’t forgo the suffering of the cross.
Being God he could have cut in line and skipped all that; but he didn’t.
And he doesn’t judge us without first giving us a chance to accept his sacrifice of love on our behalf. Instead, he patiently waits.
I can’t say I won’t be annoyed the next time the person pumping gas in front of me at Costco can’t figure out how to make the pump work while I wait for my turn…hey, I’m human. But I can say that patience is a virtue worthy of practice because God and his timing are worthy of our trust.
Do you ever want to cut in line ahead of God?
In what ways do you struggle in trusting in God’s timing?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 2 Peter 3:15