This is a post for Tuesday at Ten, the weekly blog link-up, where Karen gives us a word or phrase to use in our writing. This week’s word is patience.
I’ve often heard that it’s foolish to pray for patience. Why? Because praying for patience is asking for trials and testing. Personally, my life has enough trials without me purposely asking for them, so I agree.
We are never instructed in Scripture to pray for patience. God never told us to pray for the testing of our faith that produces patience. Why? Because trials are a natural result of seeking to live for the Lord in this hostile world. Jesus clearly said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b NKJV). Trials are unavoidable; patience in them is a choice we must make. In our trials, we are to “let patience have its perfect work, that (we) may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
The Bible doesn’t actually give us a definition of patience – it just assumes we already know what it is. So what exactly is patience? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines patience as “the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient.” Being patient is the ability “to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people.”
Patience enables us to “run the race set before us,” even when it includes delays, troubles, physical illness, emotional suffering … and the list goes on … without complaining.
Patience isn’t the same as waiting, yet it often involves waiting. As Joyce Meyer says:
Patience isn’t passive resignation concerning the things we are going through. Rather, it is active waiting, with an attitude of submission to the will of God.
Patience trusts that God’s timing is best, even when we don’t understand it.
Patience, when combined with the promises of the Word of God, is a source of hope.
Patience is a virtue to be developed, but it is also a fruit of the Spirit, a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Father, this has been a difficult day for me, one filled with frustrating circumstances and physical pain. Even as I’ve spent the afternoon studying patience, I’ve been battling impatience. Worry has been knocking on my door, and holding onto hope has been a battle. During this season of waiting, renew my joy and strength. Help me to keep my eyes on You, not on the things going on around me. Thank You for being with me and for never giving up on me. Thank You for always working for my good and for Your glory, even when I can’t see. In Jesus’ name. Amen.