What good does my patience do you? Is patience a virtue for my own benefit, or is it a grace to be dispensed by me for your benefit?
Looking back at the days of early fatherhood when I became aware of my need for patience in a deeper sense, I see now that before the birth of our children my patience was focused on delayed gratification. I was impatient for what I wanted for myself. Having babies and young children to care for forced me to see that patience was not primarily for my benefit. Children are the most demanding people I can think of, and they can’t be talked out of wanting anything.
I was forced to wait. Doing nothing is not possible, but waiting is not doing nothing. The waiting is filled with my own wanting and wishing, and thinking. I thought about the purpose of waiting, and ways to make my waiting productive. I began to fill my waiting with praying to God for the things I needed to endure and flourish in fatherhood. I read the Bible to find God’s word on the subjects of waiting and forbearing.
Some people make it look easy! Isn’t that frustrating? I’m so jealous and envious of others who seem effortlessly patient. I’m reminded of the great Sphinx in Giza. What a thing to envy.
Psalm 130:5-6 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than nightwatchmen wait for morning.”
Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
The Psalms encourage me and strengthen my resolve to be patient and to wait. God will reveal His will for me. His Spirit will guide me if I wait for Him. We are instructed to refrain from hasty words and actions (Psalm 21:5, and Psalm 29:20), and we are told not to be hasty and so miss our way (Proverbs 19:2).
Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells us not to be hasty in our hearts. “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.”
Let God’s grace be sufficient for you so that His power may be made perfect in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
In this new year, Lord, will you enable me to trust even more in you? Will you teach me greater fluency in your word? Will you bless me with an overflowing abundance of love, joy, peace and patience to dispense to others? Not that they need it more than I do. I cannot know that. But that they need it. Just like I do. You are the source of every grace, the bestower of perfect gifts, the healer of every ill. Thank you for being the perfect father, even beyond our wildest desires! In Jesus’ name, Amen!