“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” – Romans 12:12.
We’ve all looked skyward and prayed, “Lord, make me more patient—and do it now.”
Patience can evaporate in every facet of life: when we are late for a critical engagement while inching forward in traffic or when we get in a line at Walmart that looks like it is moving only to stall once we chose it. And of course, we lose our patience with our spouse.
Patience is defined as the ability to endure graciously. We all have to deal at times with people or circumstances that try our composure – an ungrateful child, an unqualified boss, a spouse taking our hard work around the house for granted. How graciously do we behave in these circumstances?
The Bible says God will be faithful to complete the good works He began in us (Philippians 1:6). That implies there’s going to be some “in the meantime” when we’re all less than perfect and less than easy to love. This is where patience comes in. The apostle Paul instructs us to “…lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
We also have to exercise patience as we wait for God’s plan for us to unfold. At times we will wait for answers to prayers, for deliverance, and for provision. It helps to remember how very patient God has to be with us on a daily basis: “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.”(1 Timothy 1:16)
This patience thing may take some time to develop, but we can learn to be more patient and graciously endure the process. There are intersections in Panama City that the light is red so long that I could read a chapter in a book waiting for it. It is difficult to be patient when cars 10 lights away go through the light before it turns green for me. But then I think about God and about developing patience. The light turned green a few moments later, and I went on my way vowing to better embrace patience during my day and in my marriage, even if in a very small way.
- Who in my life can benefit from me extending them more patience?
- How would becoming more patient change my day, my outlook, my health, or my relationships?