In the blog post Watch + Wait + Pray = Patience two comments surfaced about praying for patience: “beware of the trials that may come and be careful … we usually only learn to be patient by going through trials and tribulations.”
How else can we learn to be patience without obstacles, trials and tests that help us learn? Isn’t that how Job learned patience, which is really longsuffering and perseverance. Having and learning to be patience builds and strengthens our character, our tenacity, and our faith. The psalmist says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 24:14 KJV).
Patience is not a virtue I claim to possess. Yet, I am a bit more patience these days, because after reading Psalm 40:1—I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry (NLT)—I realized my faith had been wavering as I was sailing through one of the worst storms in my life. (And it’s not over.) When I read that verse, it hit me. I had not been waiting patiently for God to help me instead I became angry and bitter. I was impatience. Lord where are you, when are you going to show yourself. My faithful, spiritual warrior friends, including the pastor, could not convince me that God had not left me to drown.
Just as my blogger and Facebook friends warned: obstacles come in the face of praying for patience.
At a Tuesday night Bible Study, where this scripture presented itself, I read it six times. I was ashamed. My faith was weak. I had not been faithful to God’s promise—He would not leave or forsake me; I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Instantly, I repented. I confessed openly in the prayer circle. I begged for God’s forgiveness.
Now, through the trials and the test my faith—complete trust in God— doesn’t waver. My patience has become a bit more Job-like. I’m still faithful—devoted and loyal— to watching, waiting and praying that I can and will endure those things that make me want to give up. Often I do want to give up, because sometimes my life seems like on big boxing ring, and I’m not winning. Since I haven’t been knocked out, my patience is long-lasting.
What about you?
Today’s Prayer: Thank you, God for working all things out for our good and your glory as we wait on you and seek you; for energizing and strengthening us for the task we are called to do; for giving us patience, and faith to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. Amen.
Next week, we’ll explore “The Waiting Period.”