Patience. I can hear my friends laughing now as they see that I am writing a post on patience. I’ll be honest – in the beginning, this is one of the fruits of the spirit that I KNEW I needed to work on. So I will go ahead and get it out there. I am an impatient person… and you will see it most clearly when:
- I am HANGRY (hungry/angry) and need food NOW!
- I am over shopping and just want to sit down or do ANYTHING else.
- I am so excited to get somewhere that I don’t have time for you to change outfits or put on make-up, especially when you know I don’t have any on.
See, you get the picture. I am writing a post on patience when, clearly, I am lacking it. But you know what the cool thing is – thankfully, God didn’t see me as a lost cause. He wanted to teach me, and he did it when I wasn’t even aware of it.
I think there are two different kinds of patience: short-term and long-term. Short term is waiting in a long line so you can get an ice-cream cone that you will devour in 5 minutes. Long term… this is where it gets tricky. For me, long term patience is almost like a checklist I can scratch off. Husband – waiting. Ideal job – waiting. My savings account to rise above the negative line – waiting. Purpose in life – WAITING. It’s the big questions in life that keeps us waiting. It makes time seem to stand still and scream at us that we have no idea what we are doing – when a lot of times, we don’t! But guess what – we can learn to be patient. Jesus calls us to. This is what a few of my friends have shown me about patience lately:
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Paul, Philippians 4:12-13
What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now… it is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God. – Oswald Chambers
We tend to think that if we can land on our perfect purpose for our lives, we will finally be satisfied. Hear me: we have COMPLETE access to joy and purpose right now. Even with no grand vision from God, we have access to our Creator, and he is not hiding happiness from us. He gave it to us in the form of Christ. – Jennie Allen, Restless., pg. 13-14
MANNNN is that life-breathing or what. I realized it the other day, God has been teaching me patience for the last year, but specifically, the last few months. I think if I could summarize what God has been whispering to me, it would be this:
Do not concentrate on what you want, but concentrate on what I want. I want you to live life for TODAY. You have happiness today! Forget about tomorrow, that will come when it comes. Give me glory. Be intentional today. Work hard today. Pray today. And I will handle your future. Have I not told you “all things work together for the good of those who love me and are called according to my purpose” (Romans 8:28) and “many are the plans of man, but it is the MY purpose that will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21). Hannah, rest in me. Trust me. I will not lead you astray. Remember, I know every hair on your head. In ME, you have life.
Okay so long summary… I realized that as I was writing God was whispering a lot more than I realized. But I know it to be true. A few months ago I was stressing over work life. I needed money, I wanted a team, and honestly, I needed confidence in my work. But then God started throwing new, fun things at me that I would grab and take off running with. I stopped worrying because I was enjoying each new day. And it was at this point I realized that God was teaching me patience – that when I enjoy His day so much that I forget what I am being patient for, then I am being patient. And guess what – God showed me what He can do when I trust Him by being patient. Our Lord can be trusted, it is only a matter of if we are willing to obey Him while we wait. I don’t want to pretend that I am a patient guru now – no way! I still have my days of doubt. But I know the solutions lie in His word and in prayer. We can live by His word today and by prayer for our future.
“For if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:25.
Let me finish this up with a story in the Bible about our technicolor dream-coat man, Joseph. Background info: Joseph had 12 brothers and was the favored son of his father Jacob. His brothers hated this so they sold him into slavery and Jospeh ended up in Potiphar’s house where he prospered UNTIL the horrid wife falsely accused him of rape which he was thrown in prison in Egypt for UNTIL he became the master dream interpreter for the king and was made ruler in all of Egypt (Read Genesis 37-50 for full story). Wahoo! Great ending! Go master dream interpreter Joseph!
Want to know what struck me as amazing? When Joseph was ruler of Egypt, his brothers came to Egypt to ask for food without realizing they were talking to their own brother. After a while, Joseph reveals his identity to them and says this: “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.” (Genesis 50:20)
Joseph trusted the Lord and had patience that his situation would be used for God’s glory. He lived for the today. He interpreted dreams in jail that one day led him to ruling all of Egypt and reuniting with his family. Jennie Allen says it best:
“So much of his [Joseph’s] life was seemingly inconsequential, like scrubbing floors in Potiphar’s house. But to him, scrubbing a floor with excellence mattered to God. Staring at a prison wall for years mattered because it was building the character of a man who would forgive the evil of his brothers and ultimately lead a country out of ruin. …. the most inconspicuous tasks usually are building big things we cannot see yet.”
I want to live like Jospeh. I want to live in excellence today, trust in the Lord for my future, and have patience knowing the Lord’s purpose will prevail in his timing.
“For he has made everything beautiful in it’s time.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11