What better time to post about patience while physical distancing in the midst of a pandemic virus outbreak. It’s safe to say that this is a perfect example of being forced to wait and it may very well be a wake-up call for the world. It’s extremely difficult to remain patient in the throes of upheaval and uncertainty. Given recent events, it can feel like we’re being tossed like a salad by circumstances which are out of our control. There’s no denying that our plans will have to take a backseat while we wait this one out.
A very helpless place to be indeed but according to God, it is necessary for the construction of our character-building. Like peace, patience is a challenging virtue to attain and maintain especially on this volatile planet. Waiting might feel like a passive chore but it is truly a place of active preparation. It takes determination, courage, faith, strength and endurance to preserve one’s composure through tests of time.
We operate in a got-to have-it-right-now culture and technology has only compounded this way of functioning. A lot of social problems are derived from our lack of patience. It’s the reason why people marry wrong, get into debt and sexual disease is rampant. The need to rush causes poor judgment which leads to a host of consequences. Impatience has also proven to have a detrimental effect on our physical health. This includes premature aging (structures that protect DNA from deterioration are weakened), high blood pressure, obesity, depression and anxiety.
There is a passage within the Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 which beautifully illustrates the demand to wait.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
When God is silent, it doesn’t mean that He is still. Rather than wait with a rebellious attitude, we should worship because that is a part of our spiritual maturity. When you plant a seed, you don’t expect it to bear fruit the next day. It’s vital to remember that there is a natural delay between reaping and sowing.
Now more than ever, I am working on developing a greater understanding of this principle. For too long, I was working outside of God’s will for my life and the results had devastating effects. This was driven by a lack of trust and ignorance because I didn’t want to miss out on anything so I tried to speed up and/or manipulate the process. I was basically saying, “Step aside God, I’ve got this because I know what’s best” and that’s exactly what we do when we don’t remain patient. This only delays His great and wonderful plans because God’s timing is everything and if you reject it then you’re forfeiting the finest there is. When I reflect on past experiences, I acknowledge that God’s no was a rejection for my protection.
Timing is major because whatever it is that you’re waiting on is far bigger than just you. Since we’re all interconnected, God needs to shift things around in the lives of others as well. For example, suppose you’re looking for a job and getting impatient because nothing seems to be happening. Did you ever stop to consider that in order for you to land an opportunity, someone else may need to be moved as well?
In the book of Romans 8:22-25, the Apostle Paul relates the condition of waiting to that of an expectant mother.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Just as a new mum eagerly prepares for the arrival of her baby, we too must exercise the same delight in our season of waiting. She may not be able to see her child but the growing pains are indicative of a future promise. We must cling to hope and ready ourselves before we can give birth. God is much more interested in developing a righteous nature within us than He is in granting our wishes. I mean, can you imagine how spoiled and bratty we’d be if everything was received at the snap of a finger? There is a set of criteria which needs to be fulfilled before we can handle the blessing.
As a reformed believer, I have full confidence in a Sovereign Lord therefore I no longer feel the need to prompt Him. I’ve learned the hard way that there are ramifications for disobedience which means I will never, ever lose waiting on God. Being on standby, gives me the space to sift through the motives for whatever it is that I am asking. Truly, it is our willingness to wait for something which determines the value we place on it. If we obey and walk in His way then we don’t have to worry about losing anything that He has for us.
Rest assured, we’ve got an awesome God.