Our society today has become one of instant gratification. Computers, fast-food restaurants, fax machines, remote controls, and speedy transportation all have contributed to our desire to have our needs met immediately. We become impatient while waiting in line, for a file to download, or because a traffic light takes too long.
We can translate this earthly sense of speed into our relationship with God if we do not discern the difference between spirit and natural. God’s timetable is different from ours. He sees things in the eternal perspective while we view through the lens of now. When we pray for changes in our lives, we expect the fast-food answer to come and the order better not be messed up.
Patience is usually thought of as something hard to bear. We have the picture in our minds of looking at our watch and tapping a foot because something is taking too long. Scriptural patience is defined in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible as, “cheerful and hopeful endurance.” This gives us a different picture of waiting.
Colossians 1:11 says, “Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (NKJV). According to Strong’s, patience in this verse is taken from a Greek word meaning “endurance, constancy, continuous waiting.” Mr. Strong says longsuffering means forbearance. To clarify forbearance I turned to the dictionary which defines the word as a “refraining from something; self-control; abstaining from the enforcement of a right.” And from Strong’s definition, joy is a “calm, delight and gladness.”