by Noah Hefley
April 04, 2020
I want to talk about patience today—and for good reason. I have learned in recent days that this coronavirus crisis is going to last longer than I expected. That is not what I wanted to hear… So suddenly this is for me not so much a test of fear but of patience. Now I will confess something I figured out about myself a long time ago. Patience is not one of my strong suits as a human being. It’s true. I only go through the express lanes at the grocery store. I only cook using the microwave. My own preference is Fast Food and I will opt for Minute rice every time. I can relate to the guy who prayed, “Lord, give me patience—NOW!”
Frankly, I would just excuse my tendency toward impatience if scripture did not hit me square in the jaw. For example—
- “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7).
- “Wait for the Lord and keep His way” (Psalm 37:34).
- “Be completely humble, be patient…” (Ephesians 4:2).
- “Be patient…until the Lord comes” (James 5:7).
- “A man’s understanding gives him patience…” (Proverbs 14:29).
- “The fruit of the Spirit is…patience” (Galatians 5:22).
Would you like for me to go on or do your get the point? Here’s the thing: what God is to us is what He expects of us—patience! So what is patience anyway? Webster defines patience as: “The quality of being able to calmly wait and endure.” Someone else defined patience as “Noah waiting for two snails to enter the ark.” Yeah, that’s patience!
So how do we get more of it? Let’s take that last verse in the list and think about it: “The fruit of the Spirit is…patience” (Galatians 5:22).This teaches us that patience is not self-induced, but Spirit produced. That’s good because it doesn’t come to me naturally! Patience is not a matter of will-power, but a matter of fruit-bearing. The only way this fruit is going to grow and become ripe is in the right environment. You cannot grow bananas in Alaska. Neither can you bear the fruit of patience in the wrong environment. We must walk in the Spirit. The only way is to stay in communion with Him and depend on Him to produce this fruit in us.
It seems to me that at its heart, patience is really a matter of faith. It’s saying, “God, I know that you are bigger than this problem. I’m going to trust You Lord to use this thing to bring about good in my life. I’m going to resist asking, ‘Why did this happen?’ But rather, I’m going to ask, ‘God, what do you want me to learn from this, what do you want to change in me as a result of this, and how do you want me to respond to this?’” Patience really is a matter of learning faith, isn’t it?
So maybe we should not pray for patience in this crisis, but pray instead for wisdom to practice a life of dependence on God through this. Who knows? Perhaps something good like patience will come from this.
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