My lesson on patience

Psalm 130:5: I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope

 

You’ll have to forgive the public post here, in which I’m fleshing out a lesson really aimed at myself. Hopefully it’s helpful for you as well, but this is a lesson God taught me this week…

By nature, I am not a patient person. Thankfully, it’s an area of my life where God has been working on me and forming me more and more into how He wants me to be. But it’s definitely an area that I wrestle with. I’m wired to move quick and keep moving; to press hard for results and assume that if I insist on getting them, that I’ll get it done. When that doesn’t happen, I can get easily frustrated. It’s ugly when I’m not surrendering that to God.

This week I struggled with patience – I even verbalized that I was losing my patience. Not over the simple stuff. I think God has tamed me as He’s taught me in this area when it comes to the less consequential things; lines, traffic, promptness, etc. But the harder things require more focus on patience. This week, Leslie was feeling sick again. She’s been dealing with sickness in some form since November. For 16+ weeks we’ve wrestled with trying to figure out what is causing all of these symptoms. We’ve seen four doctors, been to a dozen appointments, and have no real leads or answers. And in those four months, at least every other week there’s been a day where we need to figure out how the kids will be cared for so that I can go to work and Leslie doesn’t get overwhelmed. The weight of that is stressful and not something that can be planned for in advance (I really like to plan ahead). And so, I said I had lost my patience with it. Not with Leslie – it’s not her fault that she’s sick. But I wanted results.

God led me to Psalm 130:5, which says “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Charles Spurgeon wrote some commentary on this verse, which is extremely helpful. He says “If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes…And in his word do I hope. This is the source, strength, and sweetness of waiting. Those who do not hope cannot wait; but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. God’s word is a true word, but at times it tarries; if ours is true faith it will wait the Lord’s time…Jehovah’s word is a firm ground for a waiting soul to rest upon.”

In the last part of Psalm 130:5, it says …”and in his word I put my hope” and Spurgeon said “Jehovah’s word is a firm ground for a waiting soul to rest upon.”

I don’t want the situation we’re dealing with to sound blown out of proportion. We’re fine. These are the dealings of life. I’m aware of so many others with far greater struggles than the ones we’re wrestling through. The point isn’t in the struggle, but rather the patience to walk through it. When the harder stuff comes along, I realize that it’s not about self control, but about giving up control. If my heart isn’t positioned toward submission and humility, even me trying to wrestle myself toward patience is a matter of wanting control.

Think about the picture of a traffic jam. You’re trying to get somewhere, and you come upon stopped traffic. It’s an issue, because you really wanted the result of getting to your destination on time. But instead, you’re stuck. In this moment, you’re faced with three options:

1. Wait it out: You can sit there and go with the speed of traffic, hoping to eventually get to your destination.
2. Bail out: You can decide to abandon the mission and turn around.
3. Work an angle: You can try to ride the shoulder, take a detour, drive down the center lane; try to work an angle to move faster.

I realize the metaphor isn’t perfect, because you can be frustrated and impatient in any of those three choices, but consider the options we face when we hit a traffic jam in life. We can give up and throw our hands in the air, we can do everything possible to work an angle and find a way through on our own, or we can resign to the fact that we’re not in control. God doesn’t tell us to sit idly by in all of life, but He does want us to trust Him, rely on Him, and be patient in His timing.

Isaiah 30:18
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

 

Maybe you find yourself in a specific situation where you really want to see progress, but it hasn’t come. Maybe you’re unsure of a next step for your life, and God has been silent so far. Maybe you simply find yourself in a daily posture of impatience and frustration in life. You react impatiently with people or situations in general, and it weighs heavily on you. Trust God. Give that over to God and release control. “Blessed are all who wait for Him!”

 

 

Comments 3

  1. Thanks Jon, this was meaningful to me too. My sister Sandy and I have been attending to our elderly parents for the past year. My mom is doing well, but in a nursing home, and my dad is also doing well, but wants to see mom every day. I really don’t blame him, of course he wants to make sure his wife is taken care of, as well do we. My dad, still lives at home (been trying to get him into the same nursing home with no luck), and does not drive any longer, which means he depends on us for everything. We love him, so of course we do it, although he does’t always make it easy (he’s 85 after all).
    Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of attending to him and mom being in separate places, and having a semi young family of my own. I have a round trip of almost 30 miles on the days I run arranges. (Buffalo State to Nash and the Blvd. where the nursing home is). Now, I am grateful that I still have them here, but the other day I found myself getting so anxious while driving to get dad. I was spent from work, and I just wanted to go home. I found my self in a frustrated mood for the rest of the night.
    Thank you for sharing your struggle, because it has reminded me of where I need to turn in order to persevere. I like to think that through us, God is rewarding my parents for loving us so well. Thanks for helping me remember that.

  2. Hi Jon ~
    Thanks for sharing your challenges. I appreciate hearing your wisdom.
    I also appreciate your efforts to lead the Worship Ministry. It is a very difficult task and takes a lot of effort to be patient with everyone’s needs.
    I loved it when we were rehearsing on Sunday morning and we were discussing “loud speakers” and you simply said, I am here to help you!
    Well done!
    Keep trying to grow into the leadership position God called you to. I see great wisdom coming from you through all your efforts.
    We will continue to pray for you and your family.
    Hope Leslie gets well soon. I have had many medical issues and have worked with Robbie Raugh (Jeff Raugh’s wife) and am “living in total wellness” at this time because of it.
    You can check her out through RobbieRaugh.com. She is amazing and perhaps can help your lovely wife!
    Blessings!
    Jan

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