Updated: Mar 11, 2022
In the world that we live in, everything is instant. Online shopping. Social media scrolling. Even coffee. We never have to wait too long for anything, and that’s why practicing patience is so hard. I’m currently writing this blog post in isolation, and for anyone who knows me they’ll know I love being busy and really struggle being stuck inside. But over these last few unprecedented years, whilst I most certainly haven’t enjoyed lockdowns, God has been using them as important teachable moments for me.
Humans aren’t made for isolation; we are made for community, and that is evident in how much energy and joy we find in spending time with friends and family. God made us this way, but he also made us with a social battery that can run low, and it is important that when that happens, we take time to recharge in His presence. Having to practice patience is draining, and we often in and of ourselves do not have the ability to. Even Jesus, the Son of God recognised this, and was aware of the times he needed to pull away from the crowd to spend time alone with His Father. ‘Even youths will become weak and tired… but those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.’ - Isaiah 40:30.
Patience is a gift from God, and is an important skill that we should continue to practice. God doesn’t utilise the same time frame that we do, and because of that we can struggle with the idea of a good God seemingly ‘ignoring’ our prayers or putting our requests on hold. However, what we can also so easily forget is that we are inherently selfish, and cannot see past the here and now of our current circumstances. God is always good, and it is because of His goodness that there is a disconnect between His timeline and our own. He knows what we need when we need it as He has the bird’s-eye view on our circumstances. He can see the bigger picture and acts accordingly, and that is why we can be assured that His timing is perfect.
As a Women’s Leader, the mini-series I will be focusing on with Wildfire is ‘Defining Biblical Femininity’, as we consider key women of the Bible and what their stories teach us on how to live as a godly woman in a feminist world. Hannah is one example of a truly faithful woman, and her story also teaches us a lot about patience. Her one request of God was that He would grant her a child as she was taunted about this by her husband’s other wife Peninnah. God ultimately provided her with a son, and it may look to us as if this was fairly immediate given it all occurs within the same chapter. However, scholars estimate that her period of infertility lasted almost twenty years! 1 Samuel 1:20 states that these events took place ‘within due time,’ and therefore Hannah had to rely heavily on God, trusting that in His timing her prayers would be heard.
We can talk a lot about our need to be patient, but can so easily forget that God is the literal definition of it, and is constantly exercising patience when it comes to us. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is evidence of how disobedient and self-centred we can be as children. We want earthly things and we pursue temporary thrills with a complete disregard to God’s will or purpose for our lives. Yet despite this, our Heavenly Father waits patiently for our realisation that nothing other than His love will ever truly satisfy, and stands with open arms waiting to welcome our return home.
When I think of my own personal life, there has been countless incidents where I think I’ve worn out God’s patience – I’ve tested Him too much, disobeyed one too many times and His forgiveness has worn thin. But He loves without restrictions, and that depth of grace is something I don’t think I’ll ever wrap my head around. His patience is incomprehensible, and because of that we must exercise the same with others; slow to anger, and quick to love because in everything; ‘we love because He first loved us’ - 1 John 4:19.