"If a string is in a knot, patience can untie it. Patience can do lots of things— Did you ever try it? If it was sold at any shop, I should like to buy it. But you and I must find our own, no other can supply it" — Anna M. Pratt
I heard this on a tv episode of The Flash last week and it went so perfectly with this post that I jotted it down. Jude and I are big time Flash fans and we look forward to watching it together every week, censored of course. ;)
Think about it though. The irony. To always want something in a flash, and The Flash literally has the ability to do so, but the importance of patience in certain situations is brought to the forefront. There are some things even The Flash can not get or make happen— in a flash.
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. (As defined by dictionary.com)
Have you ever known someone who adequately envelopes the level of patience defined here. To have the capacity to accept without getting angry OR upset. Calmness. Perseverance. Resoluteness. What if patience was meant to be more than acceptance? I believe it is.
This word has been resonating in my heart for weeks. In fact, I was doing the dishes and my heart was pounding as the Lord continued to speak to me about patience and to bring to light the ways in which we are to be patient. I had to stop what I was doing just to type out these words that were so heavy on my heart.
Just because the Lord has not fulfilled your dreams or your prayer wish list, does not mean that he is not going to fulfill his purpose in and through you.
We have been conformed to the thought that time is of the essence; to make the most of the time you have. The gadgets we have help us to access everything at our fingertips or by the sound of our voice. Our human concept of time does not coincide with patience.
We get tired of waiting and we resolve to give up. We convince ourselves that something we thought was for us, is not within our reach or simply too hard to obtain. We no longer see the value in being still and waiting on the Lord to work through a situation or circumstance and so we fold. If it is not done on our time table we look to the next best thing for instant gratification and we take the matter into our own hands instead of seeking the wisdom of the Lord.
Friends, there is abounding strength and mercy in waiting. Just like it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. Take comfort in knowing there is a plan and purpose in your waiting and a need for patience. James 5:7 relates waiting for the Lord to the way a farmer waits for the Autumn and Spring rains to yield his crops. As Christians, our patience and waiting is held to a higher standard and yields a significant promise.
Our fast paced, have-it-all-now generation has moved toward an issue that is blinding and deceiving. When we lack patience we lack an incredible key component to life. The character we need to persevere.
We have come a long way in technology and in our efforts to be efficient in life, but what about those ailments, those human conditions and longings that our world has yet to solve. How do you be patient in a world that has tried to erase this word, this concept from our vocabulary?
As a homeschooling family, we would love to be able communicate so effectively in homeschooling that our children understand and love everything right away. We want to know that our efforts are not in vain and that we are leading, teaching and fulfilling our kids with every need. Every day requires a great amount of patience. Not only homeschooling, but simply raising kids. It requires the full journey to receive the rewards for planting and harvesting. These are definitely not rewards you receive immediately.
When we are sick or know someone who is sick we want healing immediately. How about the desire to have our spouse or our marriage "fixed" immediately, or our dreams to come to fruition immediately. Maybe you are a woman who has a deep desire to be pregnant and to have kids right now, but it just has not worked out according to your plan. There is encouragement in the Word the Lord has for us when we look to the Bible on what it says to be patient, to be still and to wait.
I have to admit. I have not been patient. I use to be (more so before having kids) however, I am not patient— not anymore. I get irritated with homeschooling. Irritated that plans were not going as quickly as I would have liked or had imagined. Irritated that I have stepped out of my comfort zone to blog and do what I felt I have been called to do and yet, the feedback is minimal and deep down and I want to throw in the towel.
When I took a break for a couple weeks. I began pleading with the Lord to release me from blogging because it was so much easier not worrying about trying to keep up with the blogger next door. Over and over I read, I listened to podcasts and sermons and His point was very clear. You see, I wanted results and immediate conformation of my efforts. But the very thing I kept hearing in my heart is, "be patient".
If we continue to expect everything at our urgency, we are going to become a sorely disappointed generation.
How do we strengthen our character in the area of patience when that is what we are called to do as Christians?
- While waiting, seek the Lord- Continue to seek wisdom, encouragement and truth through prayer and reading the Bible. We as Christians can not be lazy or inactive, so as we wait we wait with a quiet expectation. Seeking wisdom from God alone is not received through happenstance. "Look to the Lord and his strength and seek his face always."—1 Chronicles 16:11
- While waiting, follow daily instruction- Every day, intentionally filling our minds and hearts with these very instructions lead to strength in waiting. "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." — Colossians 3:12
- While waiting, listen for the Holy Spirit- "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." —Romans 8:24-25
- While waiting, be thankful- Always, in every circumstance. "Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light." — Colossians 1:11-12
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."
While waiting, patiently expect God to go before you and to do exceedingly abundantly more than you can ask and imagine. When you wait for God's timing, He will bless you beyond your greatest expectations.
Think of all the characters in the bible who had to go through trials and gain perseverance while they waited on the Lord for healing, answers, guidance. Job, Noah, Joseph, Sarah, Elizabeth, Moses, Mary and Joseph just to name a few. I would argue that one biblical figure could be held as the face of patience through faith, that being Abraham. His life was lead by faith enduring great patience and a harvest of fulfilled promises, most he did not live to see.
"When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised." —Hebrew 6:13-15 The passage goes on to reiterate that we have a God who is unchanging and we can be secure in all he has promised. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
Although the greatest of these is God who kindly and patiently waits and waits and waits for our hearts to turn to Him so that we can know His love and grace not only in our time of need, but for all eternity.
The other day I was so wiped out from homeschool frustrations and sick kids and I sat there and prayed for God to strengthen me and encourage me because I had nothing left. My phone rang and I let it go to voicemail and someone from a curriculum we used 2 years ago (I have never received a call from them) left me a message with a verse. Later that day I was trying to work on upcoming lesson plans and the very same verse was on a website I happened upon for lessons I needed the coming week. This was the lesson that continued to show up in my day:
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." —Galatians 6:9
There are not many coincidences in my life and I have learned to see these "coincidences" strictly as God working, because there is nothing else that encourages me more or deserves that credit.
I fully anticipate days, weeks and years of lessons in patience. And it is quite possible that God prompted me to type it all out so that I could reference these words he so sweetly wove in my heart. I am encouraged, and I hope you are as well.
Have a great week friends.