God has a plan for each and every one of us. In his plan is a perfect time for every thing. That timing may not work out with what our time line is for things. Trying to figure out God's timing verses our timing - may be just one challenge we face in trying to figure out God's plan for our lives.
We seek God for many things; guidance, our calling, a heart for Him, to be this to be that, but have you ever prayed for God to give you patience? Best advice - Never pray for Patience! Whenever I have ever prayed for patience it seems the world around me gears up a few notches and things just get out of control. The kids are acting up, things around the house start to fall apart, whatever could go wrong does, and things I never expected happen at the least likely of times! Isn't that just how life is? Patience is certainly one of the fruits of the Spirit that I have struggled with. Although, I believe that the older I get - the more patient I become. I was kidding about the don't pray for patience comment.... but I will say, be careful what you pray for!
Think of the times - for me it's Christmas - where you couldn't wait for something. I couldn't wait to open my presents. I even remember more than once sneaking peaks at my presents while they were so neatly wrapped under the tree. I would know what my presents were before I opened them - and then - when it was Christmas Day and I opened them, that excitement of opening the presents was gone. Some times I was even disappointed because I may have not gotten what I wanted.
In life, our lives can sometimes be that way. We end up with outcomes that we didn't hope for. The timing of things isn't quite right and we think, "why didn't that happen earlier or when I wanted," or "why couldn't I have had that and not this." Sometimes if we would just be able to wait and be patient, the rewards would be so much greater than we could ever expect.
Patience is certainly something to really think about. Something difficult to understand how to gain it and something hard to implement into our lives at times. I hope that this week you will have your eyes and ears open to what God wants you to work on with regards to being patient in HIS timing.
I enjoyed preparing for this chapter and I chuckled as my world around me got really crazy and I thought, "of course these things are going to happen, I am working on patience." As I prepared my notes for this study it just so happened that my patience was tested. I was at the Emergency Room for some back pain. As I was just about to be called in (after waiting for an hour and a half already) a nurse came and told me a critical patient just came in and it was going to be a while longer. I thought, "of course it is going to be longer for me to wait." I then said a prayer for that patient and I thanked God for the opportunity He had provided me to work more on this chapter.
Liz gave some good insight on patience in this chapter. I love the line where she says, "I don't know what it is about parenthood, but inevitably it tests even the best-intended." She then shares a story of a mom who had two daughters in the car fighting about a barbie and she warns them that if they don't stop the barbie is going out the window. As the girls continued the mom grabs the barbie and chucks her out the window as they continue down the road. I laughed thinking I could totally relate to that. I have a 10 year old and a three year old and they argue about everything. They are constantly yelling and yet it comes down to it that the three year old just wants so much to play with his older brother and his older brother is nice when he is okay with playing with him, but when he doesn't want to play anymore things are out of control. Then I hear, "mom, get him out of my room."
I also enjoyed the stories that Liz shares of the newspaper that printed about patience that had run it's course for some parents. Here were some of the stories:
A mom had ignored her three year old because she thought he was fantasizing when he said a "birdie" lived in his room. One evening she walked in to discover a bat circling over the bed.
A mother became impatient and insisted her child stop yelling for her from across the house and come into the kitchen to tell her what was wrong. The child showed up a few minutes later. dripping wet. "I fell in the toilet," she wailed.
An exhausted mother let her sleepless child "cry it out" through the night. At about 2 am the wailing stopped. When the mom came into the room at day-break, the one year old was asleep on the crib rail, one leg dangling on each side.
Can you relate to any of these stories - do they remind you of those times that your patience wore thin and yet you discovered that your kids really needed something from you? I can.
So, what causes us to be impatient? Liz shares that it's because we want to be first. First in line, first on the job, first to be waited on. Patience will only grow as we learn to content ourselves with last place.
She says that patience is a word that seems more about stillness and waiting than taking action. A state of patience can require great acts of trust, self-control, and humility. One story in the bible that reflects this is the story of Hannah. A woman who was barren for many years. She trusted the Lord and was patient and prayed for a child. She did end up with a son after many many years of waiting. She named him Samuel. Her patience and trust were richly rewarded.
What kinds of things are you waiting for or have you waited for? What would be on your list and how would you rate your patience level with each one? What are those things or areas that set you off? Is it traffic? Drivers that cut you off? Work? Kids? Spouse?
What does patience look like? In the dictionary we find that patience means the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay; quiet, steady perseverance, even-tempered care.
Here are some bible references regarding scripture and some things to think about:
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned me and heard my cry.
We must wait patiently in prayer for God to do HIS work in us. God's timing is perfect. Some times we may have to wait much longer than we anticipated or even hoped.
If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
We develop patience as we learn to understand the Lords plans for us. If we didn't have to wait we may never learn the need to develop patience for things.
Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind.
Patience is one of the evidences of love. These fruits work together and if you have one, chances are you probably have signs of another!
2 Corinthians 6:4,6
As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love.
1 Thessalonians 5:14
Encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
We need to learn to be patient with those around us. Showing patience to others helps them see Christ through you!
If we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.
We wait eagerly to inherit what God has promised to us as His children. We haven't received His full and complete gift to us. We wait, and while we wait, we have something to look forward to. This isn't it. There is more that God has in store for us! We have something to look forward to. It is our job to wait patiently for the time that we will receive God's full and complete gift to us.
The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.
For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
I believe that when we suffer trials in our lives we truly begin to understand endurance and patience. There are many things I believe we can all think of, things that we wanted immediately, outcomes we wanted now, things that were truly hard to wait for. I believe if you truly think you would be able to come to one or more times where God's plans did not happen in the time that you had hoped for. I believe it is in these times where we truly are stretched to build that patience and to really trust in God's plan and put our agenda aside.
As hard as it may be at times, God's timing may not be our timing, and learning to trust in His time and His plan instead of ours is certainly worth learning how to do. Just as Liz shared Hannah's story with us, you too may be richly rewarded for your patience and endurance.
Jesus is our ultimate role model for patience. While he was on earth he showed patience - even when those around him were persecuting him and doubting him. Jesus never gave up on his followers no matter how much they messed up - no matter how self centered they could be.
Liz says, "It's encouraging to know that he is just as patient with us as we take our faltering and sometimes baby steps in our own life journey."
So how do we become patient? How do we allow the Holy Spirit to produce and grow this Fruit in our lives?
First we must submit our agendas over to the Lord. He has our plan. He knows the timing in His plan. Whatever it is we are looking for answers for we must surrender to Him.
Things we can think about are:
Why are we in such a hurry? Is it because we have been taught that we can have it now? Is it that we feel we deserve things? Our desires take over and we can't wait for what it is we want right now?
What are those things that trigger us to lose our patience? Think about those triggers and think about ways in which you can learn to not let those triggers get you. If it is traffic and drivers - then the next time you encounter someone that cuts you off - instead of reacting to it - let it go - think that that person must really need to be somewhere and thank goodness you are not in as big a hurry. Next time your kids start acting up - instead of resorting to yelling and screaming - take some time to figure out what is truly going on with them, figure out what they need, and give them the patience required to teach them to behave.
Take time this week to be observant. Watch for those times that God has given for you to be stretched in this area of patience. Pray for your eyes to be open and your heart to be willing to work on being patient.
PURPOSE In LIFE
If you aggressively seek God and his ways and really demand that you be shown what it is he wants you to do, you'll find it. Its closer than you think, you might already be filling his purpose, but not see it. Revelation comes by Discovery by Searching