As Christians, we all struggle with something. Whether it’s anger, proudness, lies, you name it someone struggles with it. But I think almost everyone struggles with patience. Now there are different forms of patience. There’s the waiting in line or stuck in a traffic jam patience, there’s waiting for a package to arrive in the mail patience. The common patient testers we run into daily. But the bible talks about a different kind of patience, one you probably haven’t given much thought to. We will get to that kind later on. For now let’s discuss the “common” patience and see what the bible says about it.
A standard definition to the word ‘patient’ used today can mean: bearing or tolerating something or someone without complaint or anger. That’s a pretty good definition. When you wait on someone or something patiently, you do it without complaining or getting angry. Why is this so hard though? Because this world, especially in this society, is so wrapped up in getting and wanting things here and now. ‘I want it now’, ‘I wish it would come quicker’ are common phrases we all are guilty of saying. We’ve all had those words come out of our mouth at some point in our existence. This society wants things fast, easy, simple. No hard work involved and no waiting. But that’s not what the bible teaches, lets look at a few examples of waiting.
In Lamentations 3:25 it reads, “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” Now this verse doesn’t specifically say “patience” or “waiting” in it. But it does say hope. And what is hope, “an expectation or desire for something to happen.” So this verse says that the Lord is good to those who “wait” on him. What can we wait on him for? Answering prayers, delivering us out of Satan’s hand, and eventually, coming again. Habakkuk 2:3 says, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” This revelation or “vision” is probably the vision of the end of the old covenant with Israel. Because God said “it speaks of an end and will not prove false.” God had an appointed time when Jesus would come, he had it all figured out and he knew exactly when it was going to happen. Just like the great writer of Ecclesiastes once wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”-Ecc 3:1. Everything will happen in it’s own time. In Micah 7:7 it says, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Here Micah has hope, patience, and confidence that God will hear him. What a wonderful example he is is on waiting, and the lesson for us, wait on the things of this world and especially the Lord. Because the things of this world will pass away anyway.
We’ve discussed waiting on material objects, but what about flesh and blood human beings? Sometimes people make us more mad than things of this world. Why? We have no control over them, especially when it comes to driving. Traffic jams happen all the time, people honking horns, and cursing at others because they’re bad drivers. But, patience with people is asserted in the Bible. Paul addresses this patience with others in Ephesians 4:2, which reads, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Well it sounds simple and it is, but it’s much harder to do. 1 Timothy 1:16 says, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Jesus was the greatest example of patience we have and it’s amazing how he showed it. He died and gave his life for everyone, including those who wouldn’t believe in him. But he also showed patience to the ones who would take some time to convert but would be a great apostle. Like, for example, Paul. Remember Saul (his name before it changed to Paul) was a Christian imprisoner and executer. He was imprisoning Christians right and left, but he thought that’s what the Lord wanted him to do. He also consented to Stephen’s death in Acts 8:1. But God had patience with him until one day Jesus appeared to him and it changed Paul’s life forever. Once again this proves that everything should happen in it’s own time, because look at how many people Paul converted and influenced. The work he did was astounding, and he was thankful for it. The point is God had patience with Paul and he does so with everyone.
There is one more type of patience that is mentioned in the Bible. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Here the word “endurance” is used and the Greek word means “patience”. But how could someone have patience running a race as used in the verse? Well, the “race” is life and in life there are trials that we go through. So the patience we have is “endurance” in life. When we stumble and fall and get beaten down by Satan, we have to get right back up, and that takes endurance. Romans 5:3 reads, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;” That word “perseverance” means “endurance”. James writes it well in James 1:2-3, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” We should rejoice just like the apostles did when we encounter trials because if we stick to God and trust in him in times of trouble, He will make us stronger, and that will lead to eternal life.
In conclusion, patience is hard. It’s something that we deal with day in and day out. but the little things in life we definitely need to have patience with because, it’s all going to be gone anyway, so why worry and get mad over it when things don’t go as planned, or when things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. But patience with endurance is key in this life because we face trials everyday, whether it’s practicing patience in a traffic jam or facing imprisonment for speaking about your faith. Whatever trials remember have patience in your God, he is always there when you need him. A quote by Joyce Meyer says “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Also remember, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”-Romans 5:3-5