“Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!” may be a caricature of a prayer, but the truth is, it’s probably at the heart of many real prayers. Few of us embrace patience willingly. We want what we want and we want it right now. Learning to wait is not an easy lesson for most of us.
Nor do we particularly like God’s method of teaching us patience: suffering (Rom 5:3-4). James tells us that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. (James 1:3) Naturally speaking, we flee from both these things. Yet James tells us that perseverance leads to maturity, to completeness, to a place of not lacking anything (James 1:4). The Holy Spirit wants to grow His fruit (including patience) in our lives (Gal 5:22-23), and we like the sound of a flourishing fruit orchard!
How do we embrace patience, then? I don’t believe it’s an inherited characteristic; I believe it’s a learned quality. Being patient means we learn to trust God with the everyday and the ordinary. We trust Him to sort out the problems and to work good from and in every situation. As we face the uncertainty of social isolation and don’t know when ‘normal’ life will ever resume, more than ever we need to learn to embrace patience.
The biggest way we embrace patience is to learn to be thankful for everything. (Eph 5:20) The writer to the Hebrews says of Jesus, ‘For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Heb 12:2) There can be no greater example to us of patience than Jesus, and we can be sure that He will give us everything we need.