I've heard it said that it's easier to find men willing to die than it is to find men willing to be patient. That is certainly how it has felt for me personally this week, as I've struggled to be patient in almost every area of my life. And that's not a good thing, because God specifically calls us to be people of patience. The Apostle Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 4:2, where he writes, “be patient with one another, in love”. So as Christians, we're called to be patient. But it's a hard calling to live out because there are so many things in life working against our ability to remain patient.
Fortunately for me, right when it seemed I would lose any shred of patience left, God reminded me of Galatians 5:22, which says, “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” This passage reminds us that “patience” comes to us from the Holy Spirit. And the reason we need to keep that at the front of our minds is because it helps us keep our perspective on what’s happening in our day-to-day lives.
Here’s what I mean: when we look at many of the stories in the Bible, it’s fairly easy to see that God operates on a totally different schedule than we do. For example, 25 years passed from the time God promised Abraham a son to when he was born. Israel didn’t become a great nation until 900 years after God gave them that promise. And Jesus waited 30 years after His birth to begin His public ministry.
That list could go on, but hopefully we're starting to see the pattern - God's timing is different than ours. So the psalmist wasn’t joking when he wrote that “a thousand years is like a day to God and a day is like a thousand years”! The reason we need to keep this in mind is because, more often than not, the times when we struggle the most with impatience are the times when things are not happening as quickly as we would like them to happen. It can be from small things, like traffic not moving as fast as we would like - to bigger things, like God not working out issues in our lives as fast as we expect. And so our “impatience” is a result of the fact that God doesn’t work at the speed we want Him to work.
However, when we remember that God is in control, and that He has a plan for our lives that is better than ours – and then submit ourselves to His control and plan – we’ve taken a critical step in allowing His Holy Spirit to create the patience in us that we so desperately need. So today, let's do that - let's give our plans and agendas over to God, and trust His timing on them. Let's rest in the assurance that He's not lost control of His world, and that His plan for us is a good one. And in this way, let's take the first steps toward becoming the patient people God calls us to be.