Patience is the subject of many clichéd sayings in our society. “Good things come to those who wait.” “Patience is a virtue.” “All in God’s timing.” “Haste makes waste.” “Keep your shirt on.” These and many more contain grains of truth, but in times of true trials or suffering, they are trite. No one wants to hear any of that. There is no comfort in a pithy quip.
I’m a new mom, and I love it. My daughter is my world. But the past few months have been difficult to weather because I’ve felt lonely quite a lot. And I’ve been a little angry with God because of it. Why would He want me to be lonely and feel left out? My husband would tell me that it’s just a season and that I will have a social life again, but I’m an emotional woman, so it has seemed like this “season” is never going to end. But lately God has revealed to me that this is His will for me right now—to focus on being a good wife and mom and to write—and that I have been rejecting it. I was cut to the heart, as they say. He is saying to me, “Work hard in the life that I have for you now, and just wait. The time will come for abundance in friendship and community. Just wait.”
Patience in the light of God’s truth is perfect. James gives us a beautiful passage about patience in the Christian life.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness [or patience]. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, brackets added)
When we try to learn patience, we find that we must rely on God to grow it in us. Without God, could you really endure hardship joyfully and look forward to gaining steadfastness as you suffer? No, probably not. Patience does not come naturally to us, so it is difficult to learn. If we are not in step with God, it would be natural to become bitter and depressed when circumstances don’t seem to get any better.
So, we must turn to God to learn patience. I have found that as I align my mind with His will, patience is easy. However, it does take work to get to that place of alignment with God. Every morning, I must start my day with God and talk to Him, and I must mindfully center my desires upon Him and decide to obey His will for me. Then, waiting is easy because I have hope in Him, and I have hope because I have witnessed His faithfulness to me in the past and I have faith that He will continue to be faithful in the future.
God has a glorious plan, and His timing is absolutely perfect. We must press into Him as we wait faithfully. In Him, your patience will be perfected.
My patience is now perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4, Driving Reflections—Endurance / Perseverance)
For additional encouragement, check out Isaiah 60:19-22. It is through this passage that God has been telling me to wait on Him.