Patience in the Bible
Having patience isn’t easy, especially in our “on demand” society. Patience might be one of the most difficult fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 to achieve.
Bible verses about patience typically revolve around the same theme—trusting God in all circumstances. We often hear the phrase “patience is a virtue,” but if we’re honest, it usually doesn’t feel like a virtue. Instead, patience can seem like a long list of wants or needs that we doubt will ever be fulfilled.
One of our human responses to uncertainty is to force our priorities above God’s. We think that if we could just act in our own strength, we can have what we want. We want to instantly leap to the other side of the transformation, to the end goal, without going through the process.
We might not do this intentionally, but hard circumstances or our heart’s desires can cause us to rush ahead. Difficult situations are uncomfortable, and we don’t want to experience the hard moments.
But maybe in those hard moments, God is working.
When we force a transformation, it doesn’t end well. Transformation will happen, but it probably won’t have the result we want. It also won’t be healthy unless it’s in God’s timing.
In Scripture, the association we see with the Hebrew and Greek words we translate as “patience” is the concept of perseverance or steadfastness. This means actively trusting God, even when we face difficult circumstances.
Resistance is the opposite of patience. When we resist God’s plan for our lives, we’re effectively stating that we don’t trust Him enough to wait. Patience is about giving up control. We want to be in control and have what we want when we want it. Fear and frustration enter the picture the moment we stop resting in the fact that we have a faithful God who desires the best for our lives.
Waiting through God
If we take a moment and think about it, we wait for little things every day. We wait for our computers to load new software at work, we wait in line for our morning coffee, we wait our turn at the gas station, and we wait for our children to settle down so we can read them a bedtime story.
When we wait for the bigger things in life, something changes. Waiting on the Lord suddenly becomes hard work. We want our relationship restored, our hearts to be healed, our miracle baby to arrive, or our friendship to be renewed. All of these things are worthy and noble pursuits. But we want them to happen instantly and on our timetable.
We’ve become so used to a culture of busyness that we forget to slow down and rest in the One who exists outside of time and space. His concept of time is much different from ours.
When we’re feeling worn out, it’s an indication that our souls need to find stillness. Prioritizing patience and trusting in God are ways we can find that peace.
It’s easier said than done, but patience is accepting that some things, including timing, are out of our control. Releasing that control to Him frees our hearts to open to His plans.
Difficult situations are uncomfortable, and we don’t want to experience the hard moments. But maybe in those hard moments, God is working.
Trust in the Lord
It’s easy to be patient when things are in our hands. For example, you know when a movie is going to end, and if you want to see a part again, you can just rewind it. Going too slow? Push fast forward. Just not into it? That’s fine—you can turn it off and do what you want instead.
God asks us to be patient when the remote is in His hands.
The fruit of patience is living out our faith that God will care for us. He’s gracious and knows we will fall short. We live in a fallen world, and He understands patiently waiting on Him may not always be our first response. Scriptures on patience point us back to His heart—that we would run to Him in our times of weakness.
God knows the desires of our hearts, and He has good plans for our lives. Our cries haven’t been ignored due to His “to-do list.” He is always listening, always caring, and always demonstrating His love toward us. We can prioritize patience and give Him our trust, even while we’re still waiting.
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