Thursday, June 14, 2007

Learning Patience

We live in a “microwave” society. Very rarely are we faced with the necessity to wait on something for an extended period of time. Why should we wait when everything we could ever want, or need, is right at our fingertips? In such an instantaneous society, it is apparent that patience and waiting are not virtues in high demand.

But God does not see it that way. We see in Galatians 5:22 that patience is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. And all through the Bible we are exhorted to remain patient in all manners of things: tribulation (Romans 12:12), waiting on the Lord (Psalm 37:7, Psalm 40:1, Romans 8:25), with people (1 Corinthians 13:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:14), and the list could go on. Contrary to what the world is telling us, we are not entitled to having all of our desires met in the exact moment that we feel the urge. Often times, God is calling us to wait and be patient.

I was in a meeting with a group of women earlier this week, and as we were all sharing prayer requests each one of us shared a need for more patience: more patience with people in our lives, more patience in waiting on a job, more patience in waiting on details to work out, more patience in pleading with loved ones to come to Christ—all of our lives are characterized by a greater need for patience.

As I was reflecting on our time together, and our desperate need for more grace every hour, I was reminded of Eve and the curse that she received in Genesis 3:16 “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Though, this passage might not sound like it is speaking to our need for patience, it is speaking to a deeper issue that we all face—we desire control over our lives. So much of our anxiety and frustration stems from the fact that in the core of our unregenerate being we desire to rise up and rule, like our first mother did.

Many times our lack of patience is stemming from our own inability to trust that God has our life in His hands. God has an appointed time for every detail that transpires in our lives, and when He ordains the time, we can rest assured that it will not delay (Habakkuk 2:3). As women, so much of our lives are characterized by waiting, and it is good for us to learn now how to cultivate a patient heart. Anxiety is not a quality of the Proverbs 31 woman—it will only lead to unnecessary stress.

In a culture that screams at us to aggressively seek our own, we have a Bible that tells us the exact opposite. If the Lord gives us husbands, submitting to them in a loving and joyful way will many times seem like a great chore. If the Lord allows us to bear children, there will be a whole host of difficulties awaiting us as we seek to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If the Lord allows us to remain single, living in community with the local church will require discipline and grace. Though the task seems impossible, we have a hope. Like the godly women who hoped in God before us, we too must look to our Christ as we seek to cultivate a patient heart. As we wait, God is crafting in us a deeper love and hope in His unshakeable promises. And like fast food, and microwave dinners, instant gratification is always a cheap copy for the real thing. We would not trust, or appreciate, His mercy and provision nearly as much if it was given to us right away, therefore we wait. May we be willing to wait on the Lord, and trust that His promises are sufficient.

“And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening” (1 Peter 3:6).


Whitney said...

I really loved the thought about Eve. I had never thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense. Really great post!

cdt said...

Thank you, Whitney. Hope you have a good night!