Patience

God’s timing is impeccable. On the week when I’m exploring patience as a fruit of the Spirit I find that I need patience in full measure.

Because I’m waiting. I’m waiting to see what’s the next step for me and my family. But that requires waiting on others input.

I’m waiting on family news. I’m waiting on events. I’m waiting on timing and the signal to God.

And I’m waiting on God. I’m waiting to hear his voice.

Patience can feel immeasurably hard, suspended time where our focus is directed on something and all other things fade away. Waiting on the next thing that may or may not come.

And it shows up everywhere.

Day to day, I ask for patience in my relationships. Patience to teach my children, patience to keep them safe and focussed. Patience with people in my life who are on paths that I wish they hadn’t chosen. Patience in my relationships to deal with the love and words of imperfect people and deal with the fallout of my own imperfections.

And I seek patience in the waiting. Waiting for direction, guidance, information, comfort, news where there’s no news. Waiting on decisions and tests and meetings and signs and wonders.

Patience to pace the stirring of my own soul and ambitions.

The Bible shows the immeasurability of God’s patience with his people. In the face of their sins, ambitions, impatience, rolling mouths and deaf ears, his patience remains steadfast.

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.” Psalm 145:8

What a gift that God offers the power of that steadfast patience to us through his Spirit.

For those times when we’re greedy and we want what we want when we want it and WE DON’T WANT TO WAIT, his patience is available to us.

For the times when we see the success of others, when we wipe mom and dad stains off our shirts and see other people finding acclaim and fulfillment at work while we deal in tantrums and spills at home, God’s patience is available to us.

When we see the golden sunlit vacations of others as we make ends meet in the frost, God’s patience is available to us.

As we press our faces into muffling pillows and cry out for answers and healing, God’s patience is available to us.

As we fog the window peering into the night for the return of the prodigal, God’s patience is available to us.

As we sit alone in the quiet, dreaming old dreams with fading eyes, God’s patience is available to us.

It’s available to us because of his steadfastness. His unfailing love and patience with us. His dreams for us, his unending watch through the dark nights of our lives, his shelter in the time of storm.

“I waited patiently for the Lord;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and ire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear

and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man

who makes the Lord his trust,

who does not look to the proud,

to those who turn aside to false Gods.

Many, O Lord my God,

are the wonders you have done.

The things you planned for us

no one can recount to you;

were I to speak and tell of them,

they would be to many to declare.” Psalm 40:1-5

When my patience is thin, when worry strikes me and jealousy whispers to me, I focus on God. God who has worked wonders in me and my life in the past, who is present with me today and who holds hope for my future.

He has answered my prayers in the past. Not always as I imagined and sometimes not as I’ve hoped, but I know of his great love for me and his eternal patience with my sins and my doubts. He is patient and loving when I’m not. He hears me when I cry and loves me through my rebellion.

And that patience is available to me. The ability to love others through frustration, to wait for another’s long journey back, to have patience with myself and the life unexpected. Because God hears my cry and has his hand, seen and unseen, on every aspect of my life.

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