Give Me Patience—Now!
By Jim Long
If the only way to develop patience is to go through difficulty, we’d probably just as soon skip it. Every day brings some exasperation—some need, small or great, that forces us to exercise patience. Patience is just part of the equipment we need if we are going to cope with life.
Think through the past few weeks. Who or what has tested your patience? A teacher who didn’t understand you? A friend who annoyed you? A brother or sister in an obnoxious mood? A parent’s expectations that seemed unreasonable? A disappointing grade? A broken-down car? Other drivers? Sickness?
- Now which of those situations did you have any control over? Probably not many. Yes, it’s good to try to control those things you can control, just to simplify your life. But usually, the things that test our patience are simply out of our control. We just have to live with them. So, now what?
Paul tells us to be “strengthened with all power according to [God’s] glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11).
Yes, God can actually give us the power to be patient.
Think of it another way. What if the only thing you ever had to wait for was God? If the only thing that demanded your patience was someone who loved you, who ruled the universe, and who always had your best interest at heart, wouldn’t patience come easier? We struggle with patience because we don’t like the circumstances we face. Patience is difficult because things feel out of control. The timing seems wrong; the wait drags on and on.
And yet, because God is in control, we can be patient. Because God loves us, we can relax. Because God’s wisdom is flawless, we can wait.
The only thing that ever demands our patience is the wise God who loves us. When we want circumstances to change, we wait for God to change those circumstances—or help us to change them. Or help us to accept whatever circumstances we’re in.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7).
When hardships test our patience, it is the powerful, loving, wise God who will, in time, lift our burdens—and give us the patience to wait for better things.