Questions to Consider
- What are you impatient about? What are some things that cause you impatience?
- What are some things that help you to relax and find peace in a busy and hurried world?
- What are some ways that you can intentionally practice patience today?
- What does Jesus teach us about patience and peace?
Plan of Action
- The next time you are at a busy store, pick the longest line. As you stand in the line pray for the people around you. Pray that God would give them peace and patience.
- On your drive home from work, intentionally get in the slow lane. Listen to some inspirational music or an inspiration audiobook. Savor the moment. Thank God for this day. Thank him for the car you are driving. Consider how amazing is our modern day ability to travel and commute. Live in the moment.
- Be still and know God.
Someone once told me a joke that went along these lines:
There was a man who once asked God, “How long is a million years to you?”
God said, “A million years is like a second.”
Then the man said, “How much is a million dollars to you?”
God said, “A million dollars is like a penny.”
The man smiled and said, “Could you spare a penny?”
God smiled back and said, “Sure, just wait a second.”
God’s sees time very different than us. Throughout the Scriptures it seems God seeks to teach his people lessons in patience. It was 40 years that his people wandered in the desert. It was 4000 years from the time of the fall in the Garden until the time of the Messiah. And now we are 2000 years waiting for the return of Christ. But everything happens in God’s good timing.
I want you to consider 3 aspects of patience in regards to faith and life.
Patience towards God
Patience towards God is the patience to wait for God’s answer to prayer no matter how agonizing it might be. It is always believing his time is the best time. When we find our impatience towards God growing, we go back to the invitation in Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.
Patience with Yourself
Patience with yourself is is to recognize that accomplished people are not born that way. In 1 Timothy 4:7 the Apostle Paul says, “train yourself to be godly.” Training is pushing ourselves to do what we can today so that we can do tomorrow what we can’t do today. Growth is a process that takes time and does not happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. You are on the way. Don’t be in a rush to get there. Enjoy the journey.
Patience towards Others
Patience towards others is difficult when we feel they have taken advantage of us, when we feel they don’t listen to us, when we feel they have wronged us, or when when they don’t agree with us.
But the reason we can be patient with others is because God was first patient with us. Though we are sinners and do not deserve his love, he still loves us. He still waits for us and gives us the opportunity to try again. It is called forgiveness. And he doesn’t just forgive us once. He forgives us over and over and over and over. In the words of Jesus “seventy times seven” which was a way of saying he forgives us to infinity (Matthew 18:21–22).
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
When it all comes down to it, patience is about love. Love is patient! It is the first characteristic of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Being patient towards others is making it about them rather than making it about us. Impatience happens when we are focused on ourselves and our priorities. Patience happens when our focus is on God and others. Let’s start looking outside ourselves!
*This article was originally published on Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.