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.”
If we read that verse without examining the true meaning of the words, it can leave a bad taste in our spiritual mouth. We especially don’t like that longsuffering word. Our minds conjure up all kinds of things we must endure so patience can grow. But if we read Colossians 1:11 according to the literal Greek definition of the words we could say, “patience is to have a calm delight because the answer is on the way, being constant and not wavering in our faith until it comes, and having the self-control to refrain from becoming frustrated while waiting.”
Patience comes because we overcome trials. Patience does not grow because we have the trials. If that were true, we would all be giants in patience because we all have trials. Testing and temptation come from the devil not God. (James 1:13). Satan wants to steal the Word away from us by bringing afflictions, persecutions, and hardships against us so we will waver in our faith (Mark 4:17). Standing firm on the Word during these times is what produces the patience. (Mark 4:20).
When we don’t see the answers to our prayers immediately, we sometimes question God. When we pray according to God’s will He is working, but we don’t always know what is going on behind the scenes in the spiritual world. God brings things into our lives through other people. When they don’t respond to His direction, what we wanted may be delayed. He may have to work in the hearts of someone else to accomplish His answer to us. All this time we are waiting and wondering where our answer is.
God answers when we ask. Our part is to live in faith until we see the result.
Share your thoughts about patience.