As followers of Christ, “I can trust God no matter what” is a phrase we all say. And for the most part we sincerely believe it and live it out. We trust God to provide for our basic needs, for our safety, even for our health and well-being. But there are certain moments when trusting God seems just a bit more difficult—often those are the times when we’re forced to wait.
Throughout our life, we will face times when we’re not where we once were, but we’re not yet at our final destination. Instead, we’re somewhere in between. Put simply, we’re waiting.
And it’s in the waiting that our faith is tested.
Which is why allowing God to develop patience in us is important. Not only is patience a Fruit of the Spirit, it is a foundational way that we can reflect God’s character. From the very beginning God has shown patience with people. When Adam and Eve broke God’s rule, He could have killed them on the spot. Rather, He showed them grace. Yes, there were consequences, but God had a plan for their rescue. All throughout the Bible we see God showing patience in order that more people could come to know and believe in Him.
God’s patience is continually focused on relationships with people. Even after we sinned, He still pursued us. He sent Jesus, His own Son to make a way for us to be with Him. He waited time after time for people to repent and make things right.
Something He still does today.
When we demonstrate patience, we are less likely to hurt our relationships with others. We are more likely to trust that God has something better for us in the future. And when we trust God with our future, even when we’re “in-between” on life’s journey and asking Him “Are we there yet?”, we can have patience knowing that His plan and His timing are always better than our own.
The Bible is full of stories and principles that help us discover the importance of discovering how to be patient.
We’ll start the month with one of the best examples of what happens when you’re not patient; you lose something of value. In Genesis 25:24-34, we discover the story of Esau sacrificing his birthright for a bowl of stew. Because Esau was impatient, he lost something he could never get back.
Bottom Line: When you think you can’t wait, think twice. Don’t let your lack of patience cause you to make a decision you’ll regret. Think twice about what really matters and wait patiently.
For week 2, we head over to Exodus 32:1-35 and find the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai. Instead of obeying God and waiting for Moses to come down off the mountain, the entire nation of Israel grew impatient. They built a golden calf and began to worship it instead of worshiping God. Their lack of patience had some severe consequences.
Bottom Line: When you think you can’t wait, think about what’s true. It’s easier to wait when you remember all the times God has helped you before. You can trust Him, knowing that He’ll help you wait.
For week 3, we’ll discover an important patience principle King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 14:29. “Anyone who is patient has great understanding. But anyone who gets angry quickly shows how foolish he is.” How we respond to waiting shows others our character. Getting frustrated and angry doesn’t make the wait any less, it just makes us look foolish.
Bottom Line: When you think you can’t wait, don’t lose your cool. Sometimes when you’re waiting, it’s too easy to get frustrated and become angry with others. Don’t make yourself look foolish when you have to wait.
For week four, we’ll look at 1 Samuel 1:6–2:1 and the story of Hannah. She had waited years for a child. Rather than become frustrated and angry toward God, she prays and tells Him all about it. When God answers her prayer, she gives her son back to God. He honored her waiting and blessed her with even more children.
Bottom Line: When you think you can’t wait, talk to God about it. It’s important for us all to remember that talking to God about how we feel about waiting will help us stay patience through whatever circumstance we might face. He may not change our circumstance, but He’ll give us the strength to keep waiting well.
We’ll close out the month with Mark 11:1-11; 14:43 – 15:47. The world had been waiting for a Messiah, a rescuer. And when Jesus had finally shown up on the scene, His disciples were ready. They figured this was it. Jesus would be the King and their waiting would be over. When Jesus was found guilty and crucified, they must have felt so defeated. They didn’t know at the time that God had something different in mind, something better for the whole world.
Bottom Line: Remember that God’s plan is bigger than yours. When you’re having a hard time waiting, remember that God has a plan for you life bigger and better than you could ever imagine.
While we’re discovering what God has to tell us about patience, we’ll be memorizing Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and don’t lose hope. Wait for the Lord.”
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait in our own power. Our hope is in God. He will give us the strength to remember that it’s worth the wait.
It’s important to remember that learning patience doesn’t happen in a moment; it takes time. As we talk to kids about how they can reflect God through how they show patience, it’s important to remember that this is something they’ll be development for the rest of their lives, and something we, as adults, probably can use some work on ourselves.