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Patience! Patience! Patience!

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker, Jeremy Curry.

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (KJV)

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)

Psalm 37:7-9

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. (NIV)

Psalm 40:1

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry. (NIV)

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)

1 Thesalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (NIV)

As fall approaches, the new season of many TV shows begin.  We get to learn about what happened on our favorite shows from cliff-hangers that we were left with before summer break.  Some of us have been patient for several months to find out what is going to happen.  And finally, some of the shows are starting to air new episodes this week.

Just like waiting for your favorite TV show to start, it’s easy to be patient when we know something is going to happen, even if we wait a very long time for it.  But, it is so much more difficult to be patient when we don’t know when or IF something will transpire.  We don’t spend all summer thinking about our favorite TV show and what might occur in the first episode of the next season.  Well, if that does consume your mind all summer long, then you may want to work on that. 🙂 But, what about those issues that do plague our minds?  Those things that we ask for, but we don’t even know if they will happen.  Maybe you pray for God’s direction and you don’t get it right away or you ask God for something and He says, “wait.”

As Rick Warren says, One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life. Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.”

Whatever you are waiting on, you can be certain that He is preparing something for you.  We are called to be patient more than once.  In fact, we are called to emulate God’s patience.  Hold on to your hats to follow some quick logic:  As Christians, we are called to imitate (i.e. to be like) God (Ephesians 5:1-2).  We know that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4) and we know God is love (1 John 4:8).  So, if God is love and love is patient and we are called to imitate God; then, therefore, one of the things we must be is patient just like our Heavenly Father.

Since we are called to be patient, how should we act while we are waiting?  Should we be sorrowful and weary as we are patient?  You’ll notice in this week’s passages I gave two translations of the same verse, Isaiah 40:31. One of the verses says “hope” and the other says “patient.”  The English phrase, “Those who wait upon” is translated from the Hebrew word, וְקֹויֵ֤, which is translated as “vekovye” in English.  It comes from the Hebrew root word “qavah” (pronounced kaw-vah).  Qavah is defined as “twist, stretch, thin the tension of enduring, or to look eagerly for.”  Thus, as we see in the NIV translation, it is defined as “hope” instead of “wait,” as it is translated in the King James Version.  Isn’t it interesting that “wait,” meaning patience has such a close tie with “hope” in the original Hebrew text?  I believe that the author is trying to communicate that we must be hopeful while being patient.

Besides being hopeful, what else should we do while being patient?  David tells us to be still before the Lord and do not fret.  I often want to worry when I don’t know what will happen.  How about you?  We are specifically told not to fret when others succeed in their wicked ways.  When David wrote this, I wonder if he is reminding himself not to worry as he mentions it not once, but twice.  When God asks us to wait, we should not worry.  We should not fret.  When we do, we demonstrate a lack of patience.

When we get into these situations of worrying because of our lack of patience, we often wonder if God is listening to us.  We wait and wait with no answer, but as David notes, God hears our cry.  And, as we read in Romans, we are told to be “patient in affliction.”  Since “affliction” is specifically noted here, this presupposes that there will be trials and tribulations in our life, but that we should also be joyful in these times.  Patience will be required as we move through both good and difficult circumstances in our lives.

What about if you have been asking for something for years and God hasn’t given it to you?  God’s plan for our lives is not always the same as our own.  Beth Moore writes, “Often when God does not readily give us what we want, it is because He knows what our desire would cost us. Faith sometimes means foregoing our desires because we trust Christ to have a better plan for our lives.”  Patience increases our trust, and our trust increases our faith.  When we trust in Him, we will “not grow weary.”  We know full well that God works for the good that love Him (Romans 8:28).  If you are being patient for something you are asking for, maybe it’s time to change your question and instead, ask God to reveal His plan for you?

What about those who are waiting?  Those who have yet to hear God’s answer, His direction, or His plan; what must we do for them?  We are called to “encourage the disheartened” and “help the weak.”  Do you know someone who has been waiting patiently?  Have you taken the time to encourage them lately?  Take time this week to encourage your loved ones who are being patient on God’s timing.

Whatever you are going through at this moment, we are called to be patient. Cast your worries and your concerns on the Lord, and He will remove them from you.  Wait (with hope) for His answer to reveal itself to you.  Continue to ask Him to show His plan for your life and give you guidance.  Never stop waiting on the Lord.  Do not grow weary.  As you are patient, your strength will be renewed, He will hear your cry, and you “will soar on wings like eagles.”

Father, help us to be patient.  Whether we are going through trials and waiting on You to rescue us or whether we are being patient on Your answer, remind us that You hear our cries.  Give direction and guidance to those who ask for it.  Reveal Your plans who call upon Your name, O Lord.  Keep us from fretting, help us to be joyful, give us peace, and give us patience. We love You, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.