“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)
In my mind, one of the most important passages in the Scriptures is 1st Corinthians 13. It is the love chapter often read at weddings. In 1 Corinthians 13:4, we read the profound and powerful words: “Love is patient.”
What does that mean to us today? Most would agree that love should be patient, but does that mean we should be tranquil or peaceful? Or does it mean we should be long-suffering? Does it mean that when the heat gets turned up around us or within us–we should just take it without giving up or losing it?
When we think about patience we have to think about God himself. God isn’t patient because we deserve it. He’s patient because it’s who He is. He doesn’t lose patience with those He loves, since patience is His very nature. Peter assures us the Lord is “patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). A couple verses later, Peter says it straight out: “our Lord’s patience means salvation” (2 Peter 3:15).
When we are patient in an impatient world, we show people the One who is patient with us. When was the last time you had to be patient with someone? Our culture isn’t exactly keen on patience. We want what we want now, not later. It would be difficult to wait in line without a smartphone to accompany us. Being patient while waiting in line is one thing, but being patient with another person is sometimes even harder, especially when somebody causes delays or raises our blood pressure. Being patient with others can be the hardest time to have patience.
Read the parable in Matthew 18:21-35. This is a story Jesus told his disciples about two servants who both had debts. The first servant owed his master an exorbitant amount of money; so high a payment that he likely could work his entire life and never fully make the payment. He asked his master to be patient with him, and the master, being good and forgiving, forgave the servant of the entire amount. Can you imagine how the servant must have felt? Instead of relieved and grateful, it looks like this servant turned to greed next. He went to his friend and asked for the friend to repay his (very small) debt. Instead of showing patience to another, he showed extreme impatience! The story highlights the contrast of the two responses, and makes clear how God intends for us to respond to His great patience.
If you want patience then ask God for it. Because when we’re patient, we’re more like Him. The apostle James writes that the testing of our faith produces patience, and patience perfects us and makes us complete so that we lack nothing (James 1:2-4).
- In your relationships, are you patient? Do you love others?
- Consider your relationship with your kids. Do you find yourself patient with your children when they disobey?
- Are you losing your temper when things don’t go your way? Can you handle adversity with patience?
- Are you patient with God’s timing?
- Pray and ask God for patience in all your dealings this week.